Schools of Thought

Sep 4th, 2006, in Society, by

Ma’ruf Amin of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia says that competing schools of thought within Islam have to be accepted with tolerance except when they are heretical.

Ma’ruf says that the role of the MUI is to basically harden or straighten out views within Islam that are too soft or lack firmness and to soften or moderate those opinions which are too hard or unbending. He marks out the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) as one group which is in need of having its overly moderate, or tame/docile, tendencies checked. He said this during a discussion of moderate Islam in Surabaya yesterday, attended by various figures from Islamic boarding schools.

He acknowledged that the NU was from its foundation a moderate and dynamic thinking group but advised that such dynamism be contained within certain boundaries, and that irresponsible ideas be rooted out.

On the question of the many differences of opinion within Islamic groups in the country he asked that people did not view the particular school of thought that they adhered to as the only possible truth. This attitude was suggested as ideal:

My system is correct but there may be mistakes in it, schools of thought which are incorrect may also have truth in them.
(mazhab saya yang benar, tapi boleh jadi ada salahnya, mazhab kurang benar, tapi boleh jadi ada benarnya.)

Differences are accepted but without the need to accept the teachings of others. Tolerance must be shown except in the case of certain ideas which are beyond the pale, which are far too deviationary, such as those held by Ahmadiyah, he said. All Muslims believe that there is no prophet after Muhammad and the beliefs of the Ahmadiyah have to be “amputated” from Islam.

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