RSIS Distinguished Public Lecture by Dr Haedar Nashir, General Chairman, Muhammadiyah, Indonesia
Towards Islam with Progress: Muhammadiyah’s Role in 21st Century Indonesia
About the Lecture:
The Muhammadiyah is the second largest Islamic organization in the world, with a claimed affiliation of approximately 30 million Indonesian Muslims. Muhammadiyah has played a pivotal role in Indonesian politics and society since the time of its founding in 1912. Under the leadership of its former chairman Amien Rais (1995-1998), it played a key role in the Reformasi movement, which brought an end to retired General Suharto’s three decades rule in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah underwent a theological renewal under the leadership of Ahmad Syafii Ma’arif (1998-2005), which brings its reformist theology closer to the concerns of a rapidly changing Indonesian society. Under the leadership of Din Syamsuddin (2005-2015), Muhammadiyah sought to put itself in the middle ground between Islamic liberalism and extremism and is an active participant in interfaith dialogue with members of Indonesia’s religious minority communities.
However, Muhammadiyah is currently facing several challenges. Firstly, radical Islamic groups such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State, has threatened its promotion of moderation, toleration, and respect toward the sovereignty of the Indonesian state. Secondly, Muhammadiyah faces strong competition from newer, conservative-leaning Islamic groups, which are attracting many of its members, particularly those who are young university-age. Facing these challenges, Dr Haedar Nashir, Muhammadiyah’s current general chairman, introduced the concept of Islam Berkemajuan or Islam with Progress, an Islamic understanding and practice deemed moderate, progressive, enlightened, democratic, and just for Indonesian Muslims – to be implemented at local, national, and global levels.
In this lecture, Dr Nashir will explore the themes of Islam Berkemajuan which is based on the principles of nationalism, democracy, religious tolerance, and social justice, He will also elaborate on the steps Muhammadiyah has taken to promote and implement the concept both within his organization and within the Indonesian society. Lastly, Dr Nashir will detail how Islam Berkemajuan has been received by the Indonesian Muslim community within and outside of the organization as well as on any challenges the organization face today.
About the Speaker:
Dr Haedar Nashir is the General Chairman of Muhammadiyah, one of the oldest Islamic organizations in the world (founded in 1912), based in Indonesia. Born in Bandung – West Java, Dr Nashir spent much of his adult life in Yogyakarta, where he obtained his undergraduate degree from the College of Village Community Development (STPMD). He completed his master and doctoral degrees in sociology from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta. Dr Nashir has been a member of Muhammadiyah since 1983, rising through the organization’s ranks until his election as a member of Muhammadiyah’s central leadership board (2005-2015) and its general chairman (2015-present).