Islam, Humanity, and Indonesian Identity: Reflections on History
by Ahmad Syafii Maarif
Translated by George A. Fowler
“Indonesia is not a given. Rather it has to be constantly and ceaselessly struggled for.”
To his fellow Indonesians, Ahmad Syafii Maarif is the muazin bangsa,the “muezzin of the nation” for his role in calling the nation to awareness and struggle for greater moral order and national and religious purpose. A senior teacher and one-time leader of Muhammadiyah, a religious organisation with some 29 million members, Syafii Maarif is also an educator with a PhD from the University of Chicago. His thinking and writing are unique in the way they bring together two streams of Indonesian national consciousness, the religious and the national. Syafii Maarif’s thinking is “at once theologically sophisticated and deeply rooted in the Indonesian experience”. He explores ways Quranic knowledge and participation in the global umat or community of Islam can be brought to bear in a pluralist, democratic Indonesia, which values diversity, freedom and choice.
This book, published in Bahasa Indonesia in 2009, brings together Syafii Maarif’s thinking through a consideration of Indonesia’s history. It is published now in English for the first time, in an elegant translation by George A. Fowler. Fascinating reading for anyone looking to understand the role of religion in public life, it will also give English readers a much deeper understanding of the ways Islam is and can be mobilised as a moral and political force in Indonesia.
“… for decades Indonesia’s most distinguished Muslim thinker….” – R. William Liddle, Ohio State University
“Ahmad Syafii Maarif offers a stunning, and yet hopeful, critique of Indonesian political culture and global capitalism. He draws on the combined insights of Muslim modernists including Indonesian Mohammed Hatta and Pakistani Muhammad Iqbal, Western thinkers including Francis Fukuyama and Noam Chomsky and above all humanistic themes in the Qur’an including equality and justice. This is not just a book about religion and politics in Indonesia. It is a major contribution to political philosophy….” – Mark Woodward, Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Arizona State University
“Ahmad Syafii Maarif is one of the most percipient and profound Muslim thinkers of our age. His book should be read not only by those interested in the future of Indonesian Islam but by every Muslim who cares about Islam, and as importantly, by every person who cares for the future of humanity.” – Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law.
Ahmad Syafii Maarif is professor emeritus at Yogyakarta State University and founder of the MAARIF Institute for Culture and Humanity. He was the chairman of Muhammadiyah from 1998 to 2005.
George A. Fowler is a translator and writer living in Seattle, Washington.
Publication Year: 2019
288 pages, 229mm x 152mm