Islam, Humanity, and Indonesian Identity: Reflections on History
Ahmad Syafii Maarif
George A. Fowler, tr.
To his fellow Indonesians, Ahmad Syafii Maarif is the muazin bangsa,the “muezzin of the nation” for his role in calling the nation to awareness and struggle for greater moral order and national and religious purpose. A senior teacher and one-time leader of Muhammadiyah, a religious organisation with some 29 million members, Syafii Maarif is also an educator with a PhD from the University of Chicago. His thinking and writing are unique in the way they bring together two streams of Indonesian national consciousness, the religious and the national. Syafii Maarif’s thinking is “at once theologically sophisticated and deeply rooted in the Indonesian experience”. He explores ways Quranic knowledge and participation in the global umat or community of Islam can be brought to bear in a pluralist, democratic Indonesia, which values diversity, freedom and choice.
This book, published in Bahasa Indonesia in 2009, brings together Syafii Maarif’s thinking through a consideration of Indonesia’s history. It is published now in English for the first time, in an elegant translation by George A. Fowler. Fascinating reading for anyone looking to understand the role of religion in public life, it will also give English readers a much deeper understanding of the ways Islam is and can be mobilised as a moral and political force in Indonesia.