Philosophy of Muhammadiyah

This film is dedicated to K.H.Ahmad Dahlan, the founder of Muhammadiyah the Islamic Organization in Indonesia.

  1. Based on the film is that K.H.Ahmad Dahlan was born in 1868 in Kauman Yogyakarta. K.H.Ahmad Dahlan when he was a child named Muhammad Darwis. He was raised, grew and matures into a well-respected religious Islamic family and society. His father, Kiyai Abu Bakar, son of Kiyai Haji Sulaiman, was a Khatib (Friday sermon giver) of the Sultanate Mosque of Yogyakarta. His mother, Siti Aminah or Nyai Haji Abu Bakar. His genealogy of his father was Maulana Malik Ibrahim that was one of Wali Songo (messenger of God). Through his parents’ heredity, he belonged to a very distinguished and respectable family in Yogyakarta. When he was child, he was a smart, diligent, honest, and generous especially in the way he implicate religion. He was better than his friends. When he was 18 years old he was married with Siti Walidah a daughter of Penghulu Hakim in Yogyakarta. After their married, K.H.Ahamad Dahlan must go to Mecca  or holy pilgrim doing Hajj. After he came back from Hajj he saw so many activities that unnecessary to do in ritual praying to Allah. He wanted to reconstruct the truth Islam and modernize the tradition in The Sultanate Mosque.

K.H.Ahmad Dahlan struggled in reconstructing the truth of Islam in daily life in Yogyakarta especially in Kauman and established the Islamic organization Muhammadiyah which is socio-religious organization. In his effort to reform the truth of Islam K.H.Ahmad Dahlan had some difficulties because there were some people did not like him to change what had become the ritual of tradition in Keraton of the Sultanate. Actually he stressed that we as human must practice what Muhammad SAW had given example. He added that human had to understand what the religion is? According to him, Religion is a process that treats and heals our heart. The religion is peace, beauty, and quiet like music with the harmony. He described the religion by playing the violin in front of his students. It is also to accommodate and to protect ourselves.

  • In social context, the fact K.H.Ahmad Dahlan found there were so many poor people in Kauman but rich people or priyayi seem did not care of it. It seem that the Keraton just let them live like that without any adjustment. Those poor people living likely that as it was their destiny and their health was very delicate. There was no one trying to healing their life and their living. K.H.Ahmad Dahlan tried to change the situation by implicating Surah Al-Maun. The Surah told that human must help and care poor people and treat them as they are our sisters and brothers. Muhammadiyah wanted to modernize the Indonesian Muslim community to lift it up from its backwardness to a place of respectability in modern world by improving Muslim education with introducing new methods and systems and initiating works in social welfare such as those in the fields of health and the care of orphans.

Based on his effort, people could study and know how to study at school. People could have some education and good living and health even Indonesia had not got the liberty yet. He had big ambition in teaching religion to students of Gouvernement, and then he built small school in his house to teach some children in their house area. With some help from his student he was making his own table and blackboard from waste wood.

His school had good response from people and they like to study in his school. However there were Kiyais who did not like what K.H.Ahmad Dahlan did. Then he visited his school and told him that his school was like infidel school and it was sin to follow the infidel. He answered the question by wise point of view and made the Kiyai felt embarrassed. Then he went home without any words.

In Cultural context, K.H.Ahmad Dahlan culture background was Javanese. He lived in near The Sultanate of Yogyakarta palace. His ancestors were Penghulu Kesultanan of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. He belonged to a very distinguished and respectable family of Yogyakarta. Thus, the tradition of Javanese was familiar in his daily life. It can be seen when he was still a baby the parents did ritual “Turun Tanah”. The people did some ceremony when K.H.Ahmad Dahlan wanted to go to Hajj. They did “Shalawat Nabi” and also when he went back home. He replaced his father position as Khatib in the Sultanate Mosque after his father died. According to Keraton Yogyakarta, if one of Sultanate Official was died he/she must be replaced by the first son of the member. As a Sultanate Official, accountable for religious practices, he saw the rituals of Keraton seemed odd such as submission flower and food to the cemetery, doing tahlilan together with loud voice, believing on takhayul, reading Surah Yasin in funeral etc.

When he was established a school he made his own table and chair like in Governmental school or Netherlands school. One of the Kiyai heard about his school and he wanted to see the school then he said the table and the chair looked like infidel school which was Netherland school it meant fool if he followed the Netherland but K.H.Ahmad Dahlan answered if I was fool and infidel to use table and chair why the Kiyai used the train as transportation that belonged to infidel or Netherland.

When K.H.Ahmad Dahlan saw one of woman wore inappropriate clothes then he asked the woman to wear closed clothes and use veil which was good for woman to avoid fitnah.

On the other hand, he was also a Batik businessman that sold Batik to many cities in Indonesia. So sometimes he went to many cities to sell Batik from Yogyakarta. It means he also helped to develop the Batik industry by promoting and expanding Batik to many regions in this country that is one of cultural heritage.

  • In Religious context, K.H.Ahmad Dahlan had religious background he was raised, grew and matures into a well-respected religious Islamic family and society. His father, Kiyai Abu Bakar, son of Kiyai Haji Sulaiman, was a Khatib (Friday sermon giver) of the Sultanate Mosque of Yogyakarta. His mother, Siti Aminah or Nyai Haji Abu Bakar. His genealogy of his father was Maulana Malik Ibrahim that was one of Wali Songo (nine saint). Through his parents’ heredity, he belonged to a very distinguished and respectable family in Yogyakarta. Especially after he arrived from Mecca he saw the growing corruption of religious life. He had researched that Shalat had just a symbol because following their parents so that Shalat was looked as tradition of Islam. It was proven that all mosques in Java land were not based on religion rule. Most of mosques were built based on the direction of the street or sea. Whereas, shalat five times in a day is the foundation of Islam and a source of “amal shaleh” of moslems.  Therefore he had to change the tradition of Javanese about Kiblat or direction of Shalat. Based on the astronomy the direction to Mecca is not surely in the west. It is 23 degree to the right. However, his struggle made Kiyai Haji Kamaluddiningrat and his action was condemned as a mistake. Some of his students did not like what Kiyai Haji Kamaluddiningrat said about Kiblat then they made some lines by chalk in the Mosque and it made all of members of Sultanate shocked. The students of K.H.Ahmad Dahlan were called including him. Then he built Langgar in his house and he taught some of students in his Langgar. However his Langgar had good response from people many teenagers had been learnt there. The situation made the Kiyai and members of Sultanate members were angry so they came to K.H.Ahmad Dahlan’s house to destroy the Langgar because it had threatened the Sultanate Mosque existence.

He was also tried to eliminate Takhayul, Bid’ah and Khurafat practices which were really enduring in society. Actually his efforts were not easy at that time, the Aristocrats and religious leaders prevent his efforts. Although they tried to stop K.H.Ahmad Dahlan in religious reforming, he never gave up as long as he did was right according to Qur’an and Sunnah.

  • Political context, K.H.Ahmad Dahlan was joined the Budi Utomo with expectation that his contacts with the Budi Utomo members, who predominantly teachers at the governmental school or were government officials, would enable him to give religious instruction on his reformist ideas in the schools and was teaching in the KweekSchool which was the Nederland school. In the school, he projected that the Islam education should be taught there. Then, the Nederland gave the license to him that Islam Religion education could teach in public school. He also joined the national organization Budi Utomo that had the same visions in education and health. He got officially recognized from Sultanate to run the Muhammadiyah organization but with one condition he did not allow to get involved in the Keraton activities.
  1. K.H.Ahmad Dahlan inspired by Jamaluddin Al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh when he did pilgrim journey to Mecca or Hajj. Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) was a modern philosopher from Egypt that stressed how important philosophy is. As He stated in Surah Al-Baqarah (30-34) about the human construction that human has difference than other creature because of the power of philosophy. The thinking that makes human deserves to be khalifatul fil ardli. Abduh taught that human given the intelligence by God, it is to be used properly. Abduh had attitude that freedom in thinking was always to ask and to make innovation and it was one resource of the development country.

That is way Abduh and K.H.Ahmad Dahlan had the same thoughts about religion. No wonder, K.H.Ahmad Dahlan often said that religion teacher didn’t decide anything. The truth must be found together not just belong to the teacher. Because of so many knowledge that he received from Mecca they were encourage him to make religious reform.

  1. When K.H. Ahmad Dahlan tried to do religious reform he got negative responses from aristocrat, religious leaders and society. First, when he tried to change Kiblat or direction of shalat the religious leaders did not agree and said what he did was wrong. Then, he built his own Langgar which made religious leaders feel inconvenient with his lessons that he gave to his students. So, they ordered that Ahmad Dahlan’s Langgar be destroyed to stop his actions. However, K.H. Ahmad Dahlan never gave up he kept trying to reform the truth of Islam. Next, he joined the Budi Utomo organization because an organization is for a social activity without any organization he couldn’t make any change Budi Utomo was not political organization. It was for health and education as same as his visions. However, the society was called him infidel because they thought the organization is a group of Kejawen priyayi or intellectual Kejawen. People also called him infidel Kiyai because he built modern school and the students used tables and chairs the same with Netherland (infidel people) did. At that time was not the physical war anymore but intellectual war so K.H.Ahmad Dahlan tried to improving Muslim education by erecting school. At the end, K.H.Ahmad Dahlan established Muhammadiyah organization and made his loyal students such as Sudja, Sangidu, Fahrudin, Hisyam and Dirjo as the staffs. The Muhammadiyah itself means the followers of the Prophet Muhammad saw.

This film is suitable with the title “The Enlighten One” because after watching it the viewers would get enlighten in understanding the truth of Islam and trying to search the lessons by never stop asking and discussing about Islam and the aspects in it to be better Muslims.


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