Yohan12 holds a bachelor's degree in Islamic guidance & counseling, master's degree in education and Doctor Cand. in Islamic Studies
Due to the combination of native characteristics and the influence of Islam, then Muslims has created unique inclinations to their community and some other things regarding Indonesia. This uniqueness make them different from Muslims in other countries of what they respect more and vice versa.
At least there are seven great things that Indonesian Muslims pay more attentions instead of others. Some of these trends have occurred since many year ago, even hundred or thousand years ago, while others have just occurred lately as will be discussed below.
The majority of Indonesian Muslims love Quran. But wait, probably you want to ask a question, "why don't all of them love it?"
Your question is right.We should be honest that the frequency levels of loving an Islamic holy book might vary from one person to another among its followers and this might also occur in any other religions in many countries including in Indonesia.
In many occasions, for some people, a holy book that they believe as well as religion that they confess in are just regarded as a formality as a way to support their identity. Thus, it's a natural when human mind and spiritual capacity might be occasionally up and down. But in the context of Indonesian Muslims, as far as I'm concerned, at least through the following phenomena and evidence can be the reasons why they love Quran:
- Quranic studying and memorizing education institutions have been increasing recently along with the the number of its memorizers.
- Some scholarships offered by Islamic or non-Islamic higher education institutions require new applicants to have Quran memorization for several chapters, usually between 5 to 20 chapters.
- Indonesian constitution and Five Principles (Pancasila) of Indonesian state were dominantly formed and established because of Quran inspiration.
- In Muslim family context, Quran must be put on higher places among other books or any other objects.
- Quran is the majority holy book confessed by Indonesian people in addition to the holy books of other religions, practically they love Quran as the master book of their life.
- Muslims must be very careful in treating the pieces of Quran, then whenever they find the fallen shred pieces, then they would pick them up and put on appropriate and higher places.
Those are the reasons why I say that the majority of Indonesian Muslims love Quran. If you have different reasons, please share with us.
But wait, probably you also want to protest: "it's natural if Indonesian Muslims love Quran because it's their main holy book."
OK, you're also right but, you know, there have been recently many followers of certain religions, or probably the certain followers of Islam itself, that do not love their holy book anymore, even they've forgot it. Such this preference have been happening in some certain countries. But sorry, I don't have right and authority to judge them directly by mentioning their country names as well as other attributes because that's their business.
2. Unity in Diversity
Indonesia varies in religions and cultures. These diversities need special treatment of how to manage and handle all of the gaps and intricacies.
Sometime Indonesian Muslims regard the phrase of unity in diversity as the spirit of life, and sometimes it is enthusiastically appreciated as a special Motto of all nations.
Then, why do Indonesian Muslims love unity in diversity? The following considerations can be probably the reasons:
- If they hate the unity in diversity, this means they will fight and feud everyday.
- If they dislike the unity in diversity, the disintegration will be the closest challenge that will disrupt Indonesia to be several small countries.
- If they do not love the unity in diversity, it means they have to get rid of other different groups and communities. Then, what will happen to Indonesia?
In addition to keep the unity in diversity in natural and procedural ways, the values of tolerance should be applied by Indonesian Muslims in line with the characteristics of Indonesian itself.
Why Indonesian Muslims give more enthusiasm to the unity in diversity as I mention above might give useful insights for you.
3. Islamic figures
Indonesian Muslims highly appreciate some religious titles such as Ahlulbait, Habaib, Ustadz, Ulama, and Kyai.
Then, why do they give their special appreciations to those figures? What are the reasons?
They're not only titles but they're also important figures in Islam. Then, the main reason is certainly due to their past roles in serving and sacrificing themselves to the sustainability of Islam. Then what else?
- If Muslims give full appreciation to the prophet of Muhammad, of course, they also have to do the same to his closest family members (Ahlubbait) and the prophetic symbols because that's the command of Islam.
- The term of Habaib (plural: the prophet Muhammad's descendants) are generally regarded as the symbol of Islamic continuity. They have highly contributed to the progress of Islam up to now.
- Ulama (plural in Arabic) are those who have deep knowledgeable in religion. They have high appreciations in the heart and mind of Indonesian Muslims. Though in reality each Islamic community has its own Ulama with each specific criteria. They are also regarded as Asatidz (religious teachers).
- The figure of an Ustadz also gets an extra appreciation among Islamic communities. Its amount can be greater than Ulama but their credibility and capability is not as great as Ulama. However, their have knowledge reputation is higher than
Additionally, symbolic term of Kiyai who is generally associated with a person or something. But in this case, we only take the term of Kiyai as a person.
The figure of Kiyai is generally regarded as someone who has special authority in religious life development. He is associated with someone who independently develops, lives, and leads Islamic Boarding School. Such this person is locally well known to his independence.
Then, why should Indonesian Muslims appreciate him? The answer is socially due to his contribution to the development Islamic teaching and learning in Indonesia. They can be derived from indigenous figures or the descendants of the prophet of Muhammad.
Going to Mecca and Medina to do a religiously pilgrimage can be something special for Muslims of Indonesia. That's an unforgettable journey with many special memories.
Now, the question is, why Indonesian Muslims highly appreciate to go to Islamic Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina? These are some answers:
- Socially, the title of Haji or Haj after coming back from Mecca and Medina will reward a higher appreciation to Muslim given their communities.
- Individually, they will be satisfied as a Muslim because they succeed to accomplish the final point of five obligation of Islamic pillars.
- If they haven't gone to Pilgrimage yet, they (some Muslims) assume that they consequently have not achieved their completeness as a Muslim.
- And the last is, going to Mecca and Medina can be something like religious trip or tourism activities, then it has made many Muslims happily went there repeatedly.
Additionally, going to Pilgrimage and gathering with various kinds of people that come from all over the world in Mecca and Medina can be one of the ways in building religious relationship. These are certainly in line with the life spirit of Indonesian people to harmonically and peacefully live with all nations in the world.
Those are the reasons that I've found regarding Muslims' obligation in going to pilgrimage particularly in Indonesian context.
However, the more complete conditions might be more than I mention above and contextually might be different from one country to another.
National Cultural Week of Indonesia by Indonesia.go.id
5. Cultural and Religious Traditions
Indonesian Muslims also pay special attention attributively to cultural-religious things and events. Although nowadays they are not applied by all Muslims, but they still have special values among local (regencial and provincial) belief systems to be cooperatively collaborated with Muslim communities, for example:
- The ritual of local belief events held by several specific groups, i.e., seven flowers bath that has advantages for improving individual health, Debus which is useful for improving individual spiritual powers, Ikipalin that is believed to avoid someone from bad luck, Kerik Gigi is done to show individual adultness, Perang Topat that is useful for improving social harmony, etc.
- The tradition ceremonies held by local communities, i.e., Ngaben and Metatah in Bali, Peusijuek in Aceh, Sekaten in Yogyakarta, Tiwah in Central Kalimantan, Kasada in East Java, Sisingaan in West Java, Pacoa Jara in West Nusa Tenggara, Mekikuwa in North Sulawesi, Ma'nene and Rambu Solo in South Sulawesi, Dahau in East Kalimantan, Tatung in West Kalimantan, Ngebabali in Lampung, Bakar Batu and Ikipalin in Papua, Naber Laut and Perang Ketupat in Bangka Belitung, Tabuik in West Sumatera, and many others. In short, all of the regencial and provincial communities give high appreciation to each cultural ceremonial events.
Religious Ritual Attributes
- Local traditional feast days performed by some villagers in several rural areas by using incenses are attributed to the symbol of substitution of heaven’s fragrances.
Cultural and Religious Attributes
- Some particular flowers which are specifically used for specific purposes, for example, for grave visitation and flowers bath, some communities use flowers as a helpful medium, i.e., jasmine, yellow and white champagne, red and white roses, and tuberose.
- Other attributes that can religiously be associated with several things such as robe, turban, cap and other traditional religious clothes that are proudly considered as a symbol of godliness.
Those are the unique cultural characteristics of Indonesian Muslims that make them quite different from the world Islamic communities in particular. In addition to Muslims, non-Muslims communities with any kinds of beliefs, ethnic, cultures, or whatsoever also have the same opportunities to develop and express their own cultural and religious traditions based on their own ways.
Ancestor is not always associated with ancient people who lived and died thousand years ago, no, because we do not really recognize them.
But our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are our real ancestors. Should we forget them? No, we shouldn't.
Indonesian Muslims always give high respect to such all died people and will never forget them.
Giving special respect to those died ancestors do not mean we worship them but we recall their good roles, valuable helps and services to us prior to their death. And we use our special moment to respect them. We can praying and doing something useful for them or giving something valuable to the alive people who had established good relationship to them.
Generally rural Muslims in Indonesia traditionally hold an ancestral grave visitation by doing a specific things such as cleaning around the grave area, praying and asking to God for their ancestors' happiness in their spiritual life.
Then, the question is why Muslims in Indonesia perform such tradition?
- It is one of the ways in appreciating local wisdom and cultural traditions.
- Connect spiritual relationship with ancestors.
- Keep social relation harmony because such moments massively done in groups in almost every rural villages.
- Also, it is one of religious command in particular. Thus, not only respect for alive parents and grandparents, respecting them when they've dead also one of Muslims' obligations.
Historically and religiously, all of the prophets also give high respect to their beloved ancestors by visiting their graves, praying for their well-being and happiness in spiritual life, and other relevant activities.
Therefore, giving high appreciation to our ancestors historically and religiously is not an ANIMISM activity or WHATSOEVER but it is a kind of sustaining substantial close relation between descendants and their ancestors.
7. Women's Rights
Generally, many people think that Islam constraints women to widely involved in outdoor activities. Not, that's not right. Taking an active participation in social activities can be something good and fun for them.
Islam highly appreciate women that want to develop their relevant potentials as long as they do not forget their main responsible to their family members. Then, generally why women's rights in almost every life activities should be openly given?
- Like men, they are also as one of social members, so they also have right to be a sociable person.
- They need an arena fitting with their passion in expressing their uniqueness.
- They can assist men to do some specific jobs which only women can accomplish well.
- They have an opportunity to create and produce a big things along with men.
- They can be a good partner in finishing some specific jobs.
- Working and taking routine activities along the day at home can be a boring job for some women,so they need other part time activities outside their home to reduce self-fatigue and stress.
- They can make the men's world become happier, more attractive and delightful.
Good women certainly understand their main and sub-roles, then they normally also know what to specifically prioritized.
In addition to their roles as familial figures, they also can be potentially developed to be social and political figures and others. These are the way to appreciate their rights as normal society members.
Indonesian Muslims highly respect cultural-related features and traditions, everything associated with the prophet Muhammad's, religious moderation, ancestors, unity and diversity, pilgrimage, and women's individual rights. These kinds of respects that they give, then these make them uniquely different from other Muslims in other countries.
However, we might find Muslims in other countries also have their great things to highly appreciate that give special values for them but they are not precisely the same like Indonesia.
All of those features clearly show God's wealth for the goodness of human's life to make this world as the place that has a large diversity with diverse appreciations that human regard appropriately based on their own characteristics.
Through diverse preferences on respecting something or someone, all humans might interact to recognize, know and love to one and another.
Note: If you have something good or interesting comments and info, please share with us below.
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