Mystical Islam in Medan

Mar 29th, 2006, in News, by

The Babur Ridho religious school in Medan, north Sumatra, is accused of deviant, mystical, Islamic teachings. The Indonesian Ulema Council, always vigilant against anything that smells of heresy, is investigating.

The Babur Ridho pesantren attracted a large mob of local residents demanding that it close, after accusations surfaced that some its practices and teachings were not within the mainstream of Islam. The police, as always saying that they sought to avoid violence, sealed the front gates. After a meeting at the local council offices police chief Arvan said that the school, which has stood since 1977, must remain closed until the dispute was settled. About 20 residents or staff of the pesantren were evacuated by police.

To prevent any anarchic acts by the mob we were forced to seal the gates and evacuate the followers.
(Untuk menghindari aksi massa yang anarkistis, kami terpaksa menyegel dan pengikutnya kami amankan.)

said the Medan chief of police.

The Indonesian Ulema Council, MUI, is on the job:

We haven't made a decision yet [on whether they are heretics]. The problem will be dealt with by carrying out an investigation and meetings first.
(Barangkali kami tidak perlu membuat keputusan sekarang. Masalah itu akan dilakukan penyelidikan dan pertemuan terlebih dulu.)

said Ramli Abdul Wahid of the MUI.

He added that the school, which is led by one Muhammad Irfii Nuzlan, followed the Naqsabandi Jabal Hindi mystical strain of Islam. There also appear to be disputes over the land that is claimed by the school and over whether Muhammad Irfii Nuzlan is fit to lead it. The man himself says:

I'm aware I'm not fit to lead but [my leadership] comes from a divine order.
(Saya sadar, saya tidak pantas memimpin. Tapi ini perintah gaib)

Mystical indeed.


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