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Khilafah (Caliphate) in the view of Nahdlatul Ulama

Posted on Friday, 22 May 2015 | garis 22:05 ~ Nahdlatul Ulama (also Nahdatul Ulama or NU) is a traditionalist Sunni Islam group in Indonesia. The NU is one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world. Some estimates of its membership range as high as 80 million, although it is hard to account for this number.

Caliphate in the view of NU
After the Ottoman Empire ended on March 3, 1924, some are of the view that the role of Islam in the global political arena for more than 13 centuries also ended. Since then, the existence of Muslims has met many difficulties in the fields of politics, economy, military, culture, science-technology and others.

In addition, the "modern colonialism" waged by the West against the Islamic world has allegedly become the most important factor evoking the escalation of "longingness" of some Muslim groups against the Islamic Khilafah system that ever took the triumph of Islam in the past. So, since then, the term "khilafah" (caliphate) has become one of the Islamic movement (harakah) issues having both the mission and the political agenda of rebuilding international Islamic state (Daulah Islamiyah).

In the dynamics of the struggle, the idea of building the international caliphate was first played by the members of the Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in Egypt in 1928, and subsequently played by Hizb ut-Tahrir that was established in East Jerusalem in 1952. And it has recently been echoed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

In Indonesia, the seed of the caliphate has been around since the beginning of independence in 1945, whether it is constitutional, as the Constituent Assembly, or military such as in the case of DI / TII, which sought to establish an Islamic state and reject Pancasila. The 1998 reform providing public space for freedom has made the caliphate issue in Indonesia increasingly vulgar and sustain its momentum. Talks about the issue have been increasingly intense and openly campaigned, either through thoughts or opinions and real movements. Because Islam is considered a solution and alternative ideology for seeking to form the Indonesian government from being the Unitary State of Republic into a caliphate, following the State Consitution since the Constitution of 1945 and the positive law that are completely based on Shari'ah Islamiyah (Islamic law).

On this stand, then Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in the National Ulema Meeting in Jakarta on 1-2 november 2104 decided some important points with respect to the caliphate, namely:

1. Islam as a comprehensive religion (din syamil kamil) is inseparable from any problem of state and government as its  must-be-discussed agenda. Although it is not in the whole concept, it is in the form of values and principles (mabadi` asasiyyah). Islam has provided sufficient guidance for the ummah (people).

2. To appoint a leader (nashb al-imam) is obligatory, because human life would be chaotic (fawdla) in the absence of a leader. This was confirmed by the statements made by prominent Muslim scholars, among others:

a. Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali in Ihya` 'Ulum al-Din:

الدين والملك توأمان, فالدين أصل والسلطان حارس, فما لا أصل له فمهدوم وما لا حارس له فضائع "
"Religion and power-state are definitely twin sisters. Religion is the foundation, while the power-state is the bodyguard. Something that does not have the foundation, will collapse, whereas something that does not have a bodyguard, will be wasted"

b. Shaykh al-Islam Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyah in al-Siyasah al- Syar'iyyah fi Ishlah al-Ra'i wa al-Ra'iyyah:

  إن ولاية أمر الناس من أعظم واجبات الدين, إذ لا قيام للدين إلا بها
"Indeed, the task of organizing and managing the affairs of the people (in a government and country) is among the greatest religious obligation. It is due to the impossibility of religion to be firmly upright without the support of the state"

3. Islam does not determine insted of obliging a certain kind of state and government system for its adherents. The ummah (people) have their own authority to manage and design the  government system in accordance with the demands of the development of time and place. But the most important thing is that a government must be able to protect and ensure its citizens to practice and apply their religious teachings and be a place that is conducive to the prosperity, welfare and justice.

4. Caliphate as one of the government systems is a fact of history once practiced by al-Khulafa` al-Rasyidun. The so-called Al-Khilafah al-Rashidah is a model that is in accordance with its era; ie when the human life is not under the auspices of nation states. In the time, Muslims were possible to live in a chaliphate system. By the time the human race is under the auspices of nation states, the caliphate system for Muslims around the world will lose its relevance. Even reviving the idea of the caliphate in our time is a utopia.

5. The Unitary State of Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) is the result of an agreement among the nation's founding pioneers. The NKRI is formed to accommodate all elements of the nation in terms of race, language, culture and religion. It is the duty of all elements of the nation to both maintain and strengthen the integrity of the Republic. Therefore, every effort taken by certain movements or groups that is capable of threatening the integrity of the Republic must be resisted. Because it will certainly cause destruction (mafsadah) and disputes among the ummah.

6. Muslims must not get caught up in symbols and formality that seem Islamic, but are required to commit to the substance of everything. In the popular adage among scholars said: العبرة بالجوهر لا بالمظهر " All the fundamental guide is the substance, not the symbol or outward appearance" العبرة بالمسمى لا بالإسم "All the fundamental guide is something that is named, not the name itself" Thus, the fight for the substantive values of Islam in a country--whatever the name of the country, Islamic or not--is absolutely more important than the fight for the establishment of symbolsof an Islamic state.

Similarly, the important points are the official views of NU related to the chaliphate and are the official decision of the Commission of Bahtsul Masail Al-Diniyah (religious problems deliberation) in the National Ulema Meeting of NU 2014.

KH. Mustofa Bisri ( The Supreme "Rais Aam" Council of Nahdlatul Ulama) and KH. Said Aqil Siraj (General Chairman of the Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama)

Ansor paramilitary wing (Banser). The Ansor is Nahdlatul Ulama youth organization
The Ansor paramilitary wing

Editing by Sudarto Murtaufiq, via

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