Holy Obligations

Jul 31st, 2007, in News, by

Sharia as a set of personal obligations, or as a state-enforced system.

Professor Dr Muladi, head of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) and a former Justice minister under Suharto and State Secretary under Habibie, said that specific sharia ordinances and laws could not be promulgated in Indonesia, in theory and properly speaking, because this would conflict with the basic system of the state, Pancasila.


Speaking in Banjarmasin on 30th July to a conference on “The Existence of Pancasila as the State Ideology and the Nation’s Way of Life Amid Cultural Shifts in the World” Muladi said the first principle of Pancasila, belief in the one supreme God, logically entailed that Indonesia was not a religious state, but only a religious country, a place where religion was adhered to by the people, and no particular religion was specified in the state ideology. This meant that no single religion could occupy a monopoly position, he said.

Muladi said there was still an important role for both the government and clerics in building religious life in the country but he wondered why, with so many people going on the Hajj, so many churches being built, so many new large temples, why Indonesia was still so corrupt. People often had the impression that this high level of religiosity combined with a high level of corruption was a uniquely Indonesian phenomenon, he said, Indonesians held a holy book in the right hand, and took money in the left hand, it seemed to many. antara

Meanwhile on 28th July vice-president Jusuf Kalla addressed a group of university students in Banda Aceh and was asked by one student whether the government was still committed to the application of sharia law in the province. Kalla responded by asking the student which part of Islamic law he/she was currently prevented from living by or adhering to.

Jusuf Kalla
Jusuf Kalla.

He went on to say that Indonesian Muslims were free to apply sharia in their daily lives and that he was annoyed with local, city, and provincial administrations which enacted specific sharia-like laws, such as the requirement that all government offices contain signs or writing in Arabic script. (He has said this sort of thing before.)

Don’t understand sharia in a narrow way, and it will be dangerous if such a narrow understanding is put into action via regional and local by-laws.

However he said some formal rules were necessary, such as rules for going on the pilgrimage to Mecca.

But it doesn’t mean worship/prayer services can be legislated on by the government.

He ended, in an Asian values fashion, by reminding the students to just get on with their studies and avoid demonstrating. antara

5 Comments on “Holy Obligations”

  1. WP says:

    Muladi is a clever guy and would make a good politician. But in Indonesia we put clever people like Muladi in “think-tank institutions”, and amateurs at the MPR for the supreme task of deciding the nation’s future.

  2. Dimp says:

    Obviously intelligence is an optional requirement for someone to be a government official. We need more people like Muladi (hope he actually walks the talks) in our goverment, but swimming againts the current is obviously a dangerous thing in Indonesia.

  3. Ihaknt says:

    Dimp especially if you are not a strong swimmer. Then you will just drown.

    If Jusuf Kalla really said those things then good on him.

  4. KSJ says:

    Religious freedom for everyone. Don’t let shariah law control this multi-religious country (Islam is the majority but not the only one), that would be a backward step to the country. Shariah law is applicable to Muslim only, not for everyone. Let us keep freedom and democracy safe, we achieved it struggling against the former Soeharto regime. Don’t let democracy die with the implementation of sharia law as obligation to all.

  5. Pena Budaya says:

    He ended, in an Asian values fashion, by reminding the students to just get on with their studies and avoid demonstrating.

    What are Asian values that he is talking about? Is it a value that neglected the freedom of speech/ freedom of expression? Is it really an Asian value or is it another justification to violate the most fundamental right of every human being?

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