International Journal of Applied Sociology

p-ISSN: 2169-9704    e-ISSN: 2169-9739

2016;  6(3): 38-46



The Epistemology of Islamic Political Thought in Indonesia

Dr. Muhammad Azhar, MA.

Lecturer at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Correspondence to: Dr. Muhammad Azhar, Lecturer at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


Copyright © 2016 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).


When perceived from circular perspective (not linier or parallel) based on three of the prior political epistemologies (bayani, burhani, and irfani), then reconstruction of ideal thought – as the fundamental philosophy –of Islamic Politics for contemporary Indonesia in the next era should be a balance between political trilogy ala al-Jabiry that is bayani (idealistic in the commitment to the Islamic values), burhani (ability to answer real challenge of the people and nation) and irfani (personal and communal wisdom of Muslim politicians). In textual-normative-bayani, the Islamic political vision for contemporary Indonesia still refers to the fundamental values found in the Holy Koran and Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, such as deliberation, unity, welfare and justice values. As for the burhani (rational-empirical), application of the political values which is fundamental should be adjusted to plurality context of Indonesian society, and to answer some of the existing social problems. The actual case example: application of justice and economic values which is more intense now in the sharia economy system already gets more acceptances among the society as an alternative to conventional-capitalistic economy. In burhani, thinkers or activists of Islamic politics should always have the ability to accommodate aspiration and give appreciation and positive and constructive contributions to the political dynamic in Indonesia, for the sake of the people and nation’s glory in the future, and at the same time providing successful model of Islamic political implementation in Indonesian context which is modern and democratic. This research employs a deductive approach and a library research as the methods. This research cocludes that the future of politics in Indonesia is a combination between bayani, burhani and ‘irfani (psycho-spiritual) approaches.

Keywords: Reconstruction, Epistemology, Contemporary Islamic Politics, Bayani-burhani-‘irfani

Cite this paper: Dr. Muhammad Azhar, MA., The Epistemology of Islamic Political Thought in Indonesia, International Journal of Applied Sociology, Vol. 6 No. 3, 2016, pp. 38-46. doi: 10.5923/j.ijas.20160603.02.

1. Theoritical Framework

Framework of Islamic political thought developed in Indonesia has various epistemologies, either perceived from Islamic Political discourse which is proposed by Muslim politicians or what is officially stamped in the statutes and by laws of each party. Plurality of Islamic political thought in Indonesia is more or less influenced by the epistemological framework of the thought as what already proposed by the researcher before. According to the researcher’ observations, at least there are three paradigms of Islamic Politics developed in Indonesia nowadays; those are textual-idealistic paradigm, realistic and integrality. Borrowing from al-Jibiri’s epistemological framework, Islamic political thought with the first paradigm tends to be bayani. The second paradigm tends to be burhani in style, whereas the third style is a combination between bayani and burhani. As for the epistemological nuance of Islamic Political thought that is nuanced irfani in definition, it has highly emphatic sense towards social problems but as it seems is rarely embraced by politicians or Islamic parties in Indonesia.

2. Application Theory

If reviewed from bayani perspective, this matter is clear in the statute and by laws of each party such as: “Islamic principle”, aspiration to “implement Islamic sharia”. Islamic parties clearly insertor retain Islamic idealism and continue to relate themselves to the enforcement of Islamic sharia, among those are: PPP, PBB, PKS, PKNU, PBR, and PMB. Epistemologically, the exact bayani nuance in a little amount is influenced by Islamic political thought such as al-Maududi, Moslem Brotherhood.1 As for the political epistemology which is burhani, it tends to be represented by PAN and PKB. The perspective of political thought of PAN and PKB is mostly influenced by political-epistemological framework model of Husein Haikal and Fazlur Rahman.
As what previously proposed, bayani-patterned epistemology tended to be textual, dogmatic, defensive, apologia, polemic, truth claim, and even can very easily involve another antitrust,susceptible to social violence. Moreover, it is not enriched with irfani perspective. Case example is PPP (Partain Persatuan Pembangunan)2. By epistemology, the party’s political thought framework tends to be Theo-centric and vertical in orientation. The influential mindset prevents caderisation process and also implicates aslowing down of leadership regeneration, causing boredom among internal cadres and the people externally. Since oriented to the vertical-Theo-centric, politicians of PPP tend to utilize their party merely as a tool to achieve power, and do not appear to have any seriousness to solve social problems, except nearing the General Election. It is an impact of PPP‘s political thought which is Theo-centric, and less anthropocentric. On top of that, there has been less syiar, political advertisement and aspirated and articulated political achievement, not to mention valuable focus on struggle, all is still very general, unspecific. Besides, opposing attitude toward the government tends to complicate PPP’s position which indeed has lived for too long in the New Order era, which was politically repressive towards Islam and Moslems.
Still trapped within bayani pattern, which is very apologetic, sloganistic and utopic makes PPP less innovative in fighting for Islamic values and in their effort to enrich the people and the nation. Another evidence of the bayani style appearance was clear when the scholars of PPP in the General Election of 1999 rejected the nomination of a female president. Uniquely, after Megawati won the 1999 General Election, Hamzah Haz the chief of PPP was said to be ready to serve as the vice president. Here, it seems there is inconsistence between epistemology and actuality in PPP’s politics, particularly related to female leadership. And as far as concerning female leadership, it seems that PPP’s political thought is influenced by al-Ghazali’s view.3
The other Islamic party which is bayani instyle is PBB.4 PBB who inherits the romanticism of Masyumi, likes PPP, epistemologically, also tends to be theo-centric-utopist, reflectinga somewhat exclusive Islamic party. This is as seen from the struggling focus of PBB with their idea about “implementation of Islamic law”, an evidence of textual reading of Islamic teachings. Together with other Islamic parties, PBB also aspires to revive the Charter of Jakarta, a thought that is valued by many people but is less strategic within the plural national condition (cross religion). Thus, epistemologically, PBB lacks the wisdom of the burhaniyyah, especially in the way of looking at the national political map in the homeland.
PBB since the beginning articulates political struggle for idealistic enforcement of Islamic sharia, but supposedly does not have the epistemological foundationin how to keep it down to earth or “assimilate” Islamic sharia in the plurality context of Indonesia (internal pluralism of people and external pluralism of nations). The Political epistemology embraced by PBB is more dominated by bayani than burhani. In this regard, epistemologically, PBB has not offered any clarity about relation between Islam and the realms of nationality, especially on the practicality of Islamic sharia in Indonesia. The rise of demonstrations against the anti-Pornography Act showed what sort of obscurity meant here. Similarly, several forms of objection toward local regulation of the sharia that is still considered discriminative, containing gender bias and even is only regarded as a tool to gain political sympathy from folk by the local arbiters. Islamic parties such PBB should be able to overcome the obscurity of such epistemology above mentioned.
Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (shortened to PKS or PK Sejahtera)5 is a political party based on Islamic foundation in Indonesia which is also concerned with Islamic sharia.6 PKS is more known as the youth party which is clean and professional, having social awareness that is relatively permanent (not only a show around the General Election). PKS is also known as Islamic party with a relatively tidy party management, and an impression as cadre party, rather than a mass party, although recently it starts to widen its mass basis. In the beginning of its establishment, PKS impressed as an exclusive Islamic party in style, although since it has been adapting rapidly to sociological condition of Islamic society in Indonesia, e.g., case of determining the beginning of month in Saudi Arabia. Suspectedly PKS is also more nationalistic and open to plurality of groups and even religions. Besides, PKS’ politicians, in several certain cases, were relatively able to be professional political figures (such as the imminent succession of the party’s president and who will hold the state political office afterward). PKS is also more oriented to quality work, rather than to authority only. Even though lately PKS is considered more pragmatic and power hungry, as it seems there is tendency of PKS to build coalition with non-Islamic parties (secular) with different ideology, in several electoral processes. Even there is researcher who assess PKS as actually has hidden agenda prepared for later use. The political thought of PKS model can be said as a combination between bayani, irfani and burhani.
PKS is idealistic, as an Islamic-based party (textual-Theo centric) but also has integrality. Imitating the political paradigm of Moslem Brotherhood, adapted to Indonesian context, similar to Muhammadiyah that is Wahabi, but lately performs Dakwah kutural (cultural missionary) which is more Indonesian, whereas NU since early time has gathered to march with Islam indigenous jargon in Indonesian context. The political epistemology of PKS directly refers to burhani area, not merely bayani. The political jargon was clean and lately added professionality into its political epistemology framework that is relevant to the real condition in Indonesia nowadays. This is the matter which also contributes to the rise of political seats PKS has won in both national and local settings.
Compared to the other Islamic parties, in presenting differentiation and branding, PKS is one that has completed the three elements, while PPP has fallen when comes into branding, similiar to PBB, due to MS Kaban and Yusril being two suspects of corruption cases.
As for PKNU, it basically is more bayani as “Nahdliyyin party” which is based on Islam, but as assessed not yet has any clear political positioning considering that Alwi Shihab which is known to be inclusive unexpectedly manuevered to bayani-idealistic area. In the political stage of Indonesia, the existence of PKNU is still as a losing influence compared to PKB.
PBR (Partai Bintang Reformasi) itself until now is similar with aphorism of wujuduhu ka ‘adamihi, because there is no political figure in PBR like what is formerly represented by Kiai Zainuddin MZ or Zainal Maarif. However, lately by the joining of several activists into PBR and the commitment to side with the folks, if done constantly and consistently itwill able to raise the number of seats obtained in the parliament.Thus, indistinctness of political epistemology in PBR, between idealistic and social-transformative (burhani) will be very determined by the political behaviour of PBR itself in the future.
If the appearance of PKNU was a result of “broken heart” affair with PKB then PMB7 is also a form of disappointment – in particularly – ofthe young people of Muhammadiyah toward the political existence of PAN. In the same boat with PKNU, the existence of PMB still needs to be examined through the next General Election of 2019. However, if perceived from the political principle of PMB, which is also based on Islam, then as far as it goes the existence of its political thought tends to be bayani. The burhani and irfani color will be very determined by political progress of PMB around and after General Election of 2019.
As for PAN, (Partai Amanat Nasional)8 this party aims to carry high and to set up popular sovereignty, justice, material and spiritual advancement. Goals of this party root in the religion, moral, humanity, and plurality. PAN persists to follow the principle of non-sectarian and non-discriminative. To materialize New Indonesia, PAN engaged in dialogic discourse around the idea of federation nation form toanswer the threat of disintegration. Central point of the dialogue is justice in managing resource so the whole citizens of Indonesia can really experience their civil life. PAN is more religious-nationalist in type, inclusive and pluralistic. The party by several people is expected to serve as an alternative to Golkar. It owns several politicians who have commitment to clean goverrnment. According to its vision, it is very clear that epistemologically, the politics of PAN is more burhani in type than bayani.
PKB9 (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa), similar to PAN is also a religious-nationalist type. Different from PAN whose supporters are mostly Muhammadiyah people, on the other hand PKB factually has lot more of NU mass. However, caused by repetitive occurances of internal conflict, the plentitude of itsmass is yet to be fully mobilized to consolidate and actualize the vision and mission of the party’s faith. Lately, leadership charisma possessed by the party’s elites is fading as the time goes by. In line with PAN, PKB also acts more to reduce personal attachment internally among followers of PKB politicians. Burhani dimension is evident in the struggling focus of PKB as a green party with concern for life environment aspect, and pro attitude toward social pluralism. Surely central figure of Gus Dur in the party has contributed more than PKB itself and far beyond its political-epistemological framework that is textual-bayani in style.
Based on the explanation above, from political- epistemological perspective, the existence of PPP, PBB and PKNU are mostly dominated by bayani style, while PKS combines bayani plus burhani. Specifically for PKS, irfani color is also quite more visible compared to other political parties, as seen from its political empathy in the form of societal action. As for PAN and PKB they are mostly burhani in style, while PMB and PBR in sofar have not shown epistemological clarity, but if their principles are to be taken into account, those parties can be considered as having thepolitical paradigm of bayani.
According to explanation above, how is the real and ideal reconstruction of contemporary Islamic Political thought in Indonesia in the future? The answer for this question will be proposed by the researcher in the following chapter.

3. General Principle of Reconstruction

As the researcher has suggested before, all inheritance of Islamic thought – including those in political aspect – is product of historical and sociological events surely restricted by their thinkers’ limitation in formulating Islamic political thought, around and over definite social context and time constraint when the thought was formulated. To clarify this statement, it is necessary for the researcher to encourage the adherents of Islamic teaching especially thinkers to have the ability to discern the Koranic Islam from the Imperial Islam (of Amawy, Abbasy and Fathimy), eras in which the Koranic Islam was more centralized under the absolute and transcendent form of the Empires ruling (Islamic States), disappearing behind authority and state establishment and great power of the Moslems. Furthermore let’s cite a statement from Dr. Hasjim Shalih:
Islam in the Koran shines like a light, ray, or holy flame, and does not concern the material and authority of state. It is a definitive formulation of virtues bound in Arabic language. As for Islam Fiqih or Islam Rite, or Imperial Islam, although probably they have not lost their religion dimension, but the obsession for power and expansion (authority area) seemingly over shadows the religion side. And this is the trait persisting in every great event in the history (after Prophets and revolution stages, then come authority and state stages).10
Thus, it is clear that Islamic political thought is historical product, temporal and contextual, not rigid or standard and that can be enacted in every place and period. Islamic political thought, like other scientific disciplines also falls into field of interpretation, kalam, ‘ulum al-hadist, tasawuf, philosophy and natural science, social science, humanity; they must be secured from the probable making of sacred thought (taqdis al-afkar). This means that every generation is expected to be able to make reconstruction effort of Islamic thought – including those in political field – so that Islamic values can always be actualized relevant to the needs of the era developing. In academic tradition, all of reconstruction efforts always deal with scientific assumption, methods (process and procedure), theoretical framework, common sense, validity benchmarks, basic principles and relations between subject and object of the study; all which surely correlate with theory of knowledge or epistemology. Such scientific epistemology framework can help any researcher in critiquing several developed paradigmatic concepts, including the Islamic political thought. Here lies the significance of the necessity to reconstruct Islamic political thought especially in the context of contemporary Indonesia, which in this research is elaborated using theoretical framework, scientific epistemology of al-Jabiri version.

4. The Obstacles of Reconstruction Agenda

Obstacles in the reconstruction effort of Islamic Political thought for contemporary Indonesia in the next era can be listed as follows:
1. Visionary obscurity of the activists or Moslem politicians concerning the existence of fundamental difference between normative-Korani Islam and historical-sociological Islam. From epistemological perspective, Islamic political thought today is the legacy of Islamic political thought and epistemology dating from the Middle Ages. Generally, although Islamic politics has been existing since the modern era, in the reality it stands still in the modern frame ala Western that differs from real condition – be it economic, political, social and cultural – of the Moslems, and both psychologically, sociologically or historically. In addition, critical tradition in Islamic-epistemological thought – including the political – in Moslems’ scientific world is still unpopular, except for some that have been proposed by several thinkers, if less than comprehensive.11
2. For the sake of convenience to participate in politics, Muslim activists or politicians retain some preference for status quo, resulting in stagnant criticism of Islamic political thought and epistemology. This is also caused by tendency among them to be more elitist, instead of populist.
3. The existence of Islamic political romance orienting toward the past glory of Islam, has prompted Muslim politicians to overlook presentrealistic condition of the people that continually changes, facing live threat which is more complex.12
4. Scientific researches in Islamic politics are generally still within the extent of the approach used: descriptive-analytical, Islamic-political theory review (classic) and about role or progress of some politicians and Islamic parties in several Muslim countries. So far there has not been any serious efforts of interpretation which is a more fundamental study about Islamic politics through its own approach, to see fundamental idea from the existence of Islamic-political phenomena, especially in Indonesia.13
5. Supposedly, there exists the trap of political rule as seen in cases like “Political Islam” jihad command, NII, terrorism, salafi people politics, and the like, akin to the existence of political hegemony of nation-state and single-party regime in New Order era.14
6. The stagnation of political education within Islamic parties and public in general results in the lack of reliable caderisation of Muslim politicians, and in the sluggish growth of a civil society with strong political awareness in Indonesia.15
7. Sporadic action by Moslem students and politicians likes Central Axis case in the General Election 2004 indicates that collectively Muslim students’ party is not a considerable long-term strategy for Islamic political victory in this country. Formulation of political reformation, economy and culture has been ignored amidst pandemonium of overwhelming political convulsion in the competition to dominate parliamentary seats and exclusive institution. There was outburst of public political awareness participated in this matter.
8. There has not been any review about effort to look for a way out from foreign intervention (corporatism) in managing the natural resource of Indonesia.

5. Reconstruction Effort in the Future

According to above statements, the reconstruction effort of Islamic political thought and epistemology is inexorably an academic obligation. For such reconstruction and re-comprehension in the contemporary Indonesia and for the next era, several things that can be put into consideration are as follows:
1. Islamic political reformation (by Muslim politicians and students) in Indonesia has three phases: the first phase is constitutional formulation (Masyumi’s politics), the second phase is modernization of Islamic thought pioneered by Nurcholish Madjid (Islam yes, Islamic party no) whose political impact widens the Moslems’ effort to struggle culturally, and not merely through political party. The third phase is democratic reformation pioneered by Amien Rais, Gus Dur and other national figures and students. The three phases above are gradual changes of Islamic political practice in Indonesia that must be defined well. Then in the researcher’s opinion, in the future (and for the fourth political reformation phase to happen) continual formulation of contemporary Islamic political epistemology is needed to enable fundamental review on the political reformation going, above the mere phenomenal and caricatural political study.
2. Reconstruction of Islamic political epistemology here should move from political ideology stage to Islamic political epistemology in the contemporary Indonesian context (borrowing from Murtadha Muthahhari’s theoretical framework). Differentiating the Islamic-Koranic insight from the Imperial Islam one (borrowing from Mohammed Arkoun’s framework), appreciating socio-political plurality and offering criticism toward political authority that is “socially heathen and awkward” and tyrannical-hegemonic in nature (borrowing from framework of Asghar Ali Engineer’s thought). Keeping the people away from politics as favored by the strugling fundamentalists that turns to be political apology resulting from this people’s inability to answer modern world challenge.
3. Do circular integration project of Islamic political epistemology between bayani, burhani and irfani (borrowing from Muhammad Abed al-Jabiri’s framework). Description of the integration can go as follows: in bayani actualization of Islamic politics must be consistent with Islamic values such as: deliberation, justice, honesty, and welfare. So more on the Islamic teaching substance but not formality like “Islamic state”, “Islamic Law”, and the like. However, in burhani, the role of Islamic politics must also be accurate in conducting problematic map reading of the people and the nation, until Muslim politicians are liberated from five blindnesses of epistemology (blind of literature, blind of social map, blind of history, blind of information, and blind of purity).16 As for irfani, Muslim politicians must enrich themself with wisdom values (elaboration and utilization of regional potential through vision of regional autonomy), national values (commitment to national integrity, Pancasila and wholeness of NKRI, and also appreciate social plurality), and global issues (foreign corporatism challenge); self-restrains (political actualization that islong-term in orientation); without forgetting about short-term political programs); honesty and openness values (becoming politicians with model reliability, morally or politically speaking, in a sociable fashion and witha good care for public welfare.

6. The Implication of Political- Epistemological Reconstruction

1. Synergy of religious and national political paradigm
In al-Jabiry’s perspective, epistemologically, ideal integrity is a form of dimensional integrity between bayani (idealistic-political religiosness) and burhani (concerning real problem in social reality-national politics). The integrity of political thought to small extent will leave us with linear and parallel types of epistemology, which brings ideological-political and psychological-sociological unrest among both of the currents’ adherents. Idea about necessary coalition between PKS and PDIP, for example, is exactly the ideal outlook for national interest in the future. Prior to this similiar concept actually has risen as personal coalitions of political figures with differing ideological background such that reflected in presidential pairs (religious-nationalist vice versa) in the 2004 General Election by SBY-Yusuf Kalla, Megawati Soekarnoputri - Hasyim Muzadi, Hamzah Haz-Agum Gumelar, Amien Rais – Siswono Sudirohusodo and Wiranto-Sholahuddin Wahid. In the General Election 2009 later the tradition to integrate political currents, both personally and institutionally by political parties proceeded and this would better be continued and perfected.
2. Transformative Islamic politics to bolster reformation agenda
Here lies the importance of emphasizing on the “ideological process”17, not idolization, an effort to gather and encourage political consistency without disregarding political competition. Prioritizing national interest rather than chauvinistic national ideology and narrow religious-political concept. Emphasizing political programs which is substantive and national-social transformative in orientation rather than formal or political, symbolic of religiousity or dichotomous nationality. The importance of reformulation and revitalization of religious political concept correlates with the agenda to reinforce national reformation.
3. Forming democratic-religious paradigm
Setting out consideration for religious politics is more than for the sake of political pragmatism attitude (seat achievement) in general election. This is stabilizing the integration between values of the Islamic politics and democracy to shape religious democracy.18 Advancing Moslems’ plural synergy of political thought (internally) with national coalition (Baitul Muslimun case in PDIP), developing Islamic values while mantaining emphasize on democracy and democratic institution. Philosophical thought and Islamic politics in Indonesia that will rise in the future are not the dichotomous-confrontational type, but more precisely are the coalitional-constructive, affiliational-integrative and substance-oriented ones.
4. Islamic politics and nationalism challenge in Indonesia
Related to nationalism challenge in Indonesia, there exist several matters that need and should get serious attention either now or later such: poverty problem, corruption, collusion, nepotism, classism, political currents and nationalism.19 Among other challenges which Moslem politicians will still have to deal is the urge to reawaken national illumination resource, peaceful cultural society, phenomena of sharia appearing inside regional regulations (better assimiliating sharia in regional regulation using “capsule” approach rather than “tablet” model), problem in real sector or micro economy where sharia economy perspective can supposedly serve as an alternative, long struggle in maintenance effort for gender equivalence, saving children and nation’s young generation, democratic consolidation (improving the quality of political elites and party system, effort to articulate quality legal drafting, consolidation of equivalence principal of all citizens before the law), ethic in art and culture away from pornography, preservation of environment, wide spreading preventive and educative spirit in all life aspects, not merely hovering over judicative and punitive issue.
5. Active Participation in Politics to Social Reconciliation
ExtendingIslamic political agenda from globalization context (corporatism challenge) to potential utilization of natural resource as maximal as possible for national interest. Developing political insight of religiousness and nationality that have correlation with global reconciliation effort (world peace building).
6. Islamic Politics in Legal Drafting Field
More specifically, the real challenge for popular political struggle in the future is not independent of Muslim politicians’ ability to maximize political struggle through legal drafting process. For example, about how legislation of MUI’s instructions or the other Muslims’ aspirations to reach judicatory level can be made possible? This will enable government and politicians alike to have juridical base on which decisive steps can be taken – away from accusation against human rights – as they follow the instructions and fulfill the aspirations. In this context, preparing Muslim politicians with expertise in legal drafting field is a must. Criteria e.g. ofreligious deviance against Koran and interpretation of hadith from valid to dla’if (doubtful), with exception for the maudlu using Prophet Muhammad’s standard is the closer option. And standardization of the five Islamic principles (syahadat, shalat, fasting, zakat, and hajj20) and the like, will be through accommodation and participation of various Islamic social organizations and other Islamic segments. Some of the points above can be formulated into judicial draft to be promulgated later through legislation process in the parliament in order for it to fit as reference in national scope. Thus, prolonged controversy between groups who are pro-human rights and Moslems who fearthe pollution of aqidah and syariat in their faith can be terminated, and at the same time saving the people and the nation from ideogical convultion that deteriorates politics and physic as reflected in conflicts between organizations like FPI and AKKB in Monas, and several other religious violence in some regions. So what protected is not only human rights of the minority group such as Ahmadiyah for instance, but also the rights of the people generally in this country. Before legality issue is done, the criteria of religiousness must be achieved through long process of religious debate among followers of Islam including involvement from minority group such as Ahmadiyah.
To end the discussion of chapter IV, the researcher must propose here that generally, the framework of Islamic politics and epistemology that is classical and Middle Ages-ish has reached the time for reconstruction that conforms to social context of 21st century, where interaction between Moslem communities and the non-Moslem is closer, where certainly lies the need for a new Islamic politics which is more tolerant and pluralistic. Such perspective implicates the significance of a new definition for Islamic political concept relating to the implementation of Sharia dating back Makkiyyah patternera (borrowing from Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im’s analysis) rather than Madanniyah era, or by developing perspective of ideal moral and legal specifically (analytical framework of Fazlur Rahman) rather than paradigmatic usage of qat’iyyat and zhanniyyat only. Thus the importance of sharpening dimensional review of tarikhiyyah (borrowing from Mohammed Arkoun’s framework) over all kind of Islamic study, including the Islamic political study.
The paradigm changes above rely on the importance of new viewpoint about contemporary political Islam issues that relate with concept of hudud, gender problem, non-Muslim position, concept of darul harb, human rights, citizenship, new relational pattern between Islam and Western, political philosophy response towards postmodernism, and others issues. Thus, the time has come for arrangement of new framework of Islamic political epistemology starting with new basic Islamic researches. This is directly proportional with the need for new curriculum and also new Islamic political dictionary – preceded by Islamic Dictionary or Encyclopedia of Islam definitely with the improved versions following afterwards.
No less important is the need for reevaluating study pattern of Islamic politics first initiated by the Orientalist which in many parts is still over generalizing and positivistic in itsoutlook for various phenomena within Islamic politics and as found among communities – either minority or majority – in Moslem countries. In this light some ideological criticism – which surely noted in many epistemological reviews – such modernism, capitalism, and developmentalism are very urgent to be redone. Here is the position of moral and political responsibility of Islamic political thinkers and activists, especially in Indonesia.

7. Closing

1. Axiomaticallyit must be understood that every form of political thought (including the Islamic) is a historical-sociological product much confined with in human limitation, social context and the era around it. Thus, every Islamic political thought has inherent limitation in its epistemological formulation.
2. Therefore every product of Islamic political thought will be appraised by the relevance aspect to the spirit of the age where such relevant epistemological thought lives. And every generation in all times might demand the change of framework or epistemological reconstruction of Islamic political thought with the principal of al-muhafazhah ‘ala al-qadim al- salih wa al-akhdzu bi al-jadid al-aslah.
3. New epistemological reconstruction of Islamic political thought here should not be linear and parallel, but more integral-circular to be exact, with several conceptual variants of dominant epistemology like bayani, irfani, burhani.
4. The reconstruction effort still falls within the Islamic framework which is transcendent, Koranic, and prophetic. One that always differs from expansive effort by Islamic political thought basing itself on agenda to expand political power in the known historical-sociological events, while often ignoring the more trancedent nuance of Islamic thought.
5. This research also tries to deconstruct epistemological inconsistency among political parties with their own political practices, which can be caused by several factors as follows:
a. Similarities between party elites when it comes to epistemology, or in other words the human resource of Islamic political parties in epistemological framework (nazhariyyah falsafi) has impact on the ideological framework (nazhariyyah ‘amali).
b. The existence of political situation in which there is urgent priority to rescue political party, may become a different challenge that needs actualization of different epistemological framework too.
c. The existence of vested interest or political pragmatism especially among political elite.
6. The existence of agnostic attitude of the party activists toward epistemology of Islamic political thought.
7. Reconstruction effort of contemporary Islamic- political thought should be adjusted to political and social life problem especially in Indonesia nowadays.
1. There is a need for reforming the contemporary Islamic political-epistemological vision to make it relevant to plural Indonesian context in the future. This research is a small contribution to the effort.
2. Epistemologically, Islamic political thought in Indonesia for the future should be more oriented toward the substance of Islamic values in legal context, political system, and social-cultural vision of modern Indonesia. Orientating the strugle to implement substantive sharia is more relevant to pursue in Indonesia rather than formal sharia.
3. When perceived from circular perspective (not linier or parallel) based on three of the prior political epistemologies (bayani, burhani, and irfani), then reconstruction of ideal thought – as the fundamental philosophy – of Islamic Politics for contemporary Indonesia in the next era should be a balance between political trilogy a la al-Jabiry that is bayani (idealistic in the commitment to the Islamic values), burhani (ability to answer real challenge of the people and nation) and irfani (personal and communal wisdom of Muslim politicians). In textual-normative-bayani, the Islamic political vision for contemporary Indonesia still refers to the fundamental values found in the Holy Koran and Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, such as deliberation, unity, welfare and justice values. As for the burhani (rational-empirical), application of the political values which is fundamental should be adjusted to plurality context of Indonesian society, and to answer some of the existing social problems. The actual case example: application of justice and economic values which is more intense now in the sharia economy system already gets more acceptances among the society as an alternative to conventional-capitalistic economy. In burhani, thinkers or activists of Islamic politics should always have the ability to accommodate aspiration and give appreciation and positive and constructive contributions to the political dynamic in Indonesia, for the sake of the people and nation’s glory in the future, and at the same time providing successful model of Islamic-political implementation in Indonesian context which is modern and democratic.
4. The time has come for dichotomy between nationalist and religious to end. Besides, wisdom and popular leadership especially for Moslem political elites will greatly determine their successful political activity in the future.
5. Islamic political thinkers and activists are demanded to have the ability to response and develop democratic system in modern Indonesia which is religious, aspirational, flexible, and contextual with present condition. For that to happen, skillin legal drafting is much needed in the future. Chance to perfect 1945 constitution through amendment is inexorable for the sake of realizing flexible and contextual constitution in Indonesia.
6. Some academic reviews about Islamic-political epistemology from classical era to present, in the light of global Islamic political thought and Indonesia areessentials that must be elaborated continually, considering that all thoughts are historical products which always develop, and indeed must always be developed and adjusted tothe context of on going era.


1. Muhammad Azhar, Wawasan Sosial PoliticIslam Kontekstual, Yogyakarta: UPFE UMY, 2005, pages 337-340. See Munawir Sadzali, Islam dan Tatanegara, Ajaran, Sejarah dan Pemikiran, Jakarta: UI-Press, 1993. See also M. Din Syamsuddin, Islam dan Politik Era Orde Baru, Jakarta: PT. Logos Wacana Ilmu, 2001. Bahtiar Effendy, Islam dan Negara, Transformasi Pemikiran dan Praktik Politik Islam di Indonesia, Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998. Long before PPP, Indonesian Muslims have been expressing bayani Islam for instance by Masyumi. About contravention of Islam ideology versus Communist, see Samsuri, Politik Islam Anti Komunis, Pergumulan Masyumi dan PKI di Arena Demokrasi Liberal, Yogyakarta: Satria Insania Press, 2004. This work proposed about one of national political episode in Liberal Democracy era that showed the role of Masyumi party involving discourse fight of ideology against Indonesian Communist Party, circa 1950 – 1957.
2. In its declaration in January 5, 1957 the party was the result of amerger between four religion parties as follows: Partai Nahdatul Ulama (NU), Partai Serikat Islam Indonesia (PSII), Perti, and Parmusi. The temporary chief that time was HMS Mintaredja, SH. The merger of the four religious parties aimed to simplify election system in Indonesia with the incoming first General Election in the New Order era in 1973. According to the statutes the party aimed to maintain and build Republic of Indonesia on the base of Pancasila and Constitution of 1945, was concerned with the wealth and justice among society, blessed by Allah SWT. In the 1999General Election, PPP got 58 chairs in DPR. In the 2004General Election, PPP again got 58 chairs (see Wikipedia).
3. Al-Ghazali proposed the seven conditions of the head of state. The seven conditions are: 1) independent; 2) male; 3) mujtahid; 4) wide insight; 5) justice; 6) mature; 7) not a female or a blind, or children, wicked, naughty or reckless people. (See al-Ghazali, al-Wajiz, 2nd section, Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, tt., page 237. See also at Abu Ishaq al-Syairazi, al-Muhadz, 2nd section, page 240). According to al-Ghazali, woman has no right to take hold ofthe state based on the hadith of the prophet: “Won’t be successful a society that give over (to lead) their affair to a woman”. About the prophet’s hadith that prohibits woman to become the leader, see the al-Bukhari, Shahih al-Bukhari, IV juz, page 228. Musnad Ahmad, V juz, page 38 and 47; Sunan Turmudzi, III juz, page 360. Scholar Jumhur comprehended the hadist – also based on QS. An-Nisa: 34 – textually that women are prohibited become to be judge or head of state. They stated that according to syara’, woman is only given responsibility to keep the husband’s wealth. (al-San’ani, Subul al-Salam, IV juz, page 123; Fath al-Bari, VIII juz, page 128). The expert of hadist, Syuhudi Ismail, explained that the society’s view towards woman is improving and finally in many things will bein equal position to man. Al-Qur’an itself gives same chance to women and men to do several of charitable benevolences. Note that the hadist was given by the Prophet over hearing explanation from his companion about the appointment of a lady as the queen of Persia, her name was Buwaran binti Sairawati bin Kisra bin Barwayz who back then was not politically considered to be capable and acceptable especially in the socio-anthropo-historical context of Arabian and Persian nations. (compare to Syuhudi Ismail, Hadist Nabi yang Tekstual dan Kontekstual, Jakarta: Bulan Bintang, 1994), page 65; also Quraish Shihab, Wawasan al-Qur’an, Bandung: Mizan, 1986, pages 314). Qasim Amin had written a history about woman position in the Islam’s view, in two of books: Tahrir al-Mar’ah (Kairo: tt), page 25-289; and Al-Mar’ah al-Jadidah (Kairo: tt), page 3 – 223). In Indonesia, the birth of UU No. 1/74 about marriage required the presence of female judge. Therefore the Ministry of Religion in that time held a meeting among scholarson national level to discuss about possibility woman to become judge, and actually in the meeting – even if it was quite difficult – agreement can be achieved and KH. Ibrahim Hosen said so. See Ibrahim Hosen, Pembaharuan Hukum Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Putra Harapan, 1990) page 146.
4. Partai Bulan Bintang (PBB) is a political party in Indonesia that is based on Islam and assuming itself as the successor of Masyumi that was victorious in the Old Order era. Partai Bulan Bintang was established in 17th July 1998,. The party had joined the General Election twice which wereThe General Election in 1999 and in 2004. The party in the 2004 General Election won only as many as2.970.487 voters (2,62%) and got 11 seatsin DPR. The party before was chaired by Yusril Ihza Mahendra, a figure who occupied Cabinet Secretary Ministry in the SBY Presidency era. Next, MS Kaban was chosen as general chief in 1st May 2005, MS Kaban himself was a Minister of Forestry in the Cabinet of Indonesia Bersatu (see further in Wikipedia).
5. PKS was founded in Jakarta in Saturday, 1423 H Jumadil ‘Ula 9th coincided with April 20, 2002. PKS is a continuation of Partai Keadilan (PK) founded in Jakarta in Monday, 1419 H Rabi’ul Awal 26th coincided with July 20, 1998. Initially PKS was established as Partai Keadilan (shortened to PK) in a press conference at the hall of Al-Azhar Mosque, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta, the president (chief) of the party anouonced was Nurmahmudi Isma’il (seeWikipedia).
6. In May 30, 1997, eight Islamic political parties (PPP, Partai Keadilan, Partai Kebangsaan Umat, Partai Umat Islam, PPII Masyumi, PNU, PBB, and PSII 1905) agreed to aconcolidation of the ballots (stembus accord) resulting from 1999 general Election. In October 20, 1999 PK accepted the Forestry and Plantage Ministry seat offered in the cabinet of KH Abdurrahman Wahid and ordered Nurmahmudi Isma’il (at that time was the chief of PKS) as a ministry candidate. Nurmahmudi Isma’il retired himself as the chief of the party and was replaced by Hidayat Nur Wahid who was elected in May 21, 2000. In August 3,2000, the eight of the Islamic parties (PPP, PBB, PK, Masyumi, PKU, PNU, PUI, PSII 1905) held an informal meeting and gathering at Al-Azhar Mosque and requested the Charter of Jakarta to be included in 1945 Constitution amendment (seeWikipedia).
7. Partai Matahari Bangsa is a political party in Indonesia that was established inDecember 16, 2006 16th by young cadres of Muhammadiyah with Islamic principle. Nonetheless, this party is not a part of Muhammadiyah. The party has passed administration verification and also factual verification by the General Election Commision (KPU) to join 2019 general Public Election, and got consecutive number 18. Recently, the General Leader seat is occupied by Imam Addaruqutni, a former leader of Muhamaddiyah Youth, whereas the General Secretary is Ahmad Rofik, a former general leaderof IMM (seeWikipedia). On one of Islamic teaching held by Angkatan Muda Muhammadiyah DIY, the researcher would suggest PMB to have more focus on the political struggle against foreign Corporatism problem discussed in depth by Amien Rais in his newest book Selamatkan Indonesia. If PMB is serous in this affair, this matter could have big contribution for the nation of Indonesia in the future.
8. Partai Amanat Nasional or often shortened to PAN is a political party whose foundation is “Moral Politics based on religion blessing the entire universe” (Statute chapter II section 3 [2]). PAN was established in August 23, 1998, authentication bythe Department of Justice and Human Right No.M-20.UM.06.08 dated August 27, 2003. The chief of the Party Counselor Committee was Amien Rais. The Vice was by Hatta Rajasa and A.M. Fatwa (see at Wikipedia).
9. Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa is a political party in Indonesia, established in Jakarta in 1419 Rabi’ul Awal 29th Hijriyah / July 23, 1998. The declaration was performed by scholars of Nahdlatul Ulama (Munasir Ali, Ilyas Ruchiyat, Gus Dur, A. Mustofa Bisri, A. Muhith Muzadi). Forthe first time it participated in General Election of 1999 and in 2004 it participated again. The party has a basis composed of NU people; it nominated Gus Dur as president and he served from 1999 until the middle of 2001. In 2004, the party obtained 10,57% votes(11.989.564 ballots) and won 52 seats in the DPR (seeWikipedia).
10. Hasjim Shalih in Mohammad Arkoum, Membongkar Wacana Hegemoni dalam Islam dan Post Modernisme, Surabaya: A-Fikr, 1999, page 235.
11. Compare to Hibbah Rauf Izzar about female political role in al-Mar’ah wa al-‘Amal al-Siyasi, Ru’yah Islammiyyah, Mesir: al-Ma’had al-Alami li al-Fikr al Islami. See also Arkoun’s criticism towards oriental teaching about Islamic Politics especially on fundamentalist phenomena that sounds textual-philological, that has surely produced generalizing conclusion which ignores the uniquness of Islamic politics in every Islamic states (see Arkoun’s criticsm in Membongkar Wacana Hegemonik Dalam Islam dan Post Modernisme, Surabaya: al-Fikr, 1999, page 50). Compare to Asma’ Muhammad Ahmad Ziyadah, Daur al-Mar’ah al-Siyasi, Mesir: Darussalam, 2001.
12. PPPwith several Islamic political parties and Islamic social organizationsincluding MMI, HTI, Anshorut Tauhid, Salafi and the other hard-line Islamic groups represent this view.
13. This is the factor which encouraged the researcher to do this research.
14. Besides local rules, in certain case like Bali bombing there is suspicion that foreign intelligence was involved in the event (compare to Fauzan Al-Anshari, “Dampak Eksekusi Amrozi Cs”, Republika, November 8, 2008, page 4.
15. The rising phenomenon of actress acting as political candidates signals the inability of political parties to provide reliable and populist political cadres.
16. Compare to Mohammed Arkoun, Membongkar Wacana Hegemonik, page 239.
17. Ideological processes here means reconfirming commitment of the Muslim politicians for social transformation effort.
18. Yusuf Qardhawi is a famous scholar in Islamic world from Qatar, in his visit to Indonesia he appreciated Indonesia for its success in uniting Islam and democracy, a rare thing to happen in the other parts of Islamic world particularly Middle East.
19. See “Tantangan Berat Nasionalisme”, Kompas, October 27, 2008 pages 1, 15, 22.
20. Standardization can give reference to Moslems in several controversial issues, e.g. about variation of syahadat, orientation of shalat to the east or the back of Kaaba (in the context of Indonesian Moslems), determining the beginning of ramadan not using ru’yah and hisab, zakat and tax as inseparable unity, hajj worship as reflecting idolatry and many more.


[1]  Asma’ Muhammad Ahmad Ziyadah, Daur al-Mar’ah al-Siyasi, Mesir: Darussalam, 2001.
[2]  Antonim, “Tantangan Berat Nasionalisme”, Kompas, October 27, 2008.
[3]  Al-Ghazali, al-Wajiz, section 2, Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, tt.
[4]  Abu Ishaq al-Syairazi, al-Muhadz, section 2.
[5]  Al-Bukhari, Shahih al-Bukhari, juz IV.
[6]  Al-San’ani, Subul al-Salam, juz IV.
[7]  Bahtiar Effendy, Islam dan Negara, Transformasi Pemikiran dan Praktik Politik Islam di Indonesia, Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998.
[8]  Fauzan Al-Anshari, “Dampak Eksekusi Amrozi Cs”, Republika, November 8, 2008.
[9]  Fath al-Bari, juz VIII.
[10]  Hasjim Shalih in Mohammad Arkoum, Membongkar Wacana Hegemoni dalam Islam dan Post Modernisme, Surabaya: A-Fikr, 1999.
[11]  Hibbah Rauf Izzar about female political role in al-Mar’ah wa al-‘Amal al-Siyasi, Ru’yah Islammiyyah, Mesir: al-Ma’had al-Alami li al-Fikr al Islami.
[12]  Ibrahim Hosen, Pembaharuan Hukum Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Putra Harapan, 1990).
[13]  Muhammad Azhar, Wawasan Sosial Politik Islam Kontekstual, Yogyakarta: UPFE UMY, 2005.
[14]  Munawir Sadzali, Islam dan Tatanegara, Ajaran, Sejarah dan Pemikiran, Jakarta: UI-Press, 1993.
[15]  M. Din Syamsuddin, Islam dan Politik Era Orde Baru, Jakarta: PT. Logos Wacana Ilmu, 2001.
[16]  Musnad Ahmad, juz V.
[17]  Mohammed Arkoun, Membongkar Wacana Hegemonik Dalam Islam dan Post Modernisme, Surabaya: al-Fikr, 1999.
[18]  Quraish Shihab, Wawasan al-Qur’an, Bandung: Mizan, 1986.
[19]  Qasim Amin, Tahrir al-Mar’ah (Kairo: undated).
[20]  Qasim Amin, TahrirAl-Mar’ah al-Jadidah (Kairo: undated).
[21]  Syuhudi Ismail, Hadist Nabi yang Tekstual dan Kontekstual, Jakarta: Bulan Bintang, 1994.
[22]  Samsuri, Politik Islam Anti Komunis, Pergumulan Masyumi dan PKI di Arena Demokrasi Liberal, Yogyakarta: Satria Insania Press, 2004.
[23]  Sunan Turmudzi, juz III.