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Kamis, 06 Desember 2012

The Role of Islamic Institution in Developing Civil Society


The Role of Islamic Institution in Developing Civil Society

Muhammad AR
Dosen Fakultas Tarbiyah IAIN Ar-Raniry Banda Aceh



Abstract
The title of this paper is  “ The Role of Islamic Instititution in Developing Civil Society”.  It cannot be denied that the role of Islamic institutions or Islamic universities  in
developing  and improving the quality of people  both in the past and nowadays.  These institutions have developed and  changed  students’  personality to think, to do, to work, and even to behave  among the people where  they are living. Every citizen  has right  to talk, to think, to give opinion to the government without intimidating and  discriminating and the like. 
Therefore everybody has to be recognized  his/her rights  and  choice  in civil cociety, and the state has to respect  this kind of  claim from the people. In this case, the government themselves need to support university or instutition by giving them opportunity to manage and run their own program and to give complete facilities. Anyway, the society themselves have to work hard to develop the country and give much  attention and advice to the ruling class for the sake of country.
          In reality, most of autocratic and dictatorial government  often underrate the problems of civil society.  This always happen in the third world contries where  the democratic system is not applying properly.  If the government  give rights to Islamic university or Islamic institution especially in improving society’s  pattern of thinking, this will help  the government easy and safe to run the country without any significant hinderance or obstacle and  later on the civil society will be helpful for them to some extent. Truly speaking,  the civil society  is usually achieved  in the strong, stable and prosperious country.
          Islamic institutions or university, together with their  role and great endevour,  could create civil society  who have to be tolerant  to the different people with different opinion and  faith. We have to share ideas among the various community background,  different political point of views, different  tradition and different religion itself.  Civil society  is a group of people who live in a country  to work hand in hand,  help each other,  support the poor and the needy, and  respect each other eventhough having different political background and different  organizations.
          To some extent,  the role of Islamic institutions and Islamic universities  need to be  involved  in developing  civil society in the future. In addition, the government  also have to understand their position and role in developing  the civilized society  for producing the people  not only  to achieve the knowledgeable but also the best conduct  society among us. This had been done  by Islamic institution in Indonesia before and after the early independent of this country.


Introduction

            We agree with the opinion arising and spreading in the community that university either belongs to the government or the private one had played  much important role  among the community  particularly  in educating students.  This had been proved that all people who are working both in the government offices or in the private sectors were graduated from the university.  In Aceh, the existence of State Islamic Institute of Ar-Raniry (IAIN Ar-Raniry),  Sekolah Tinggi  Islam Al-Muslim Matang Glumpang Dua, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Cot Kala, Langsa, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Malikusaleh Lhokseumawe, Islamic Traditional Institutions (Dayah)  and others cannot be denied their role  in developing Acehnese community.  Most Islamic universities or Islamic institutions have tried their best and have done something  in developing  students’  atmosphere and their way of thinking as well as  their character for preparing themselves  to live harmoniously in  the community. All of these things are the ways to create civil society that enable them develop their dignity, improve their civilization and their interaction among the plural society.
            It is not  exaggeration to say that  the role  of Islamic universities or Islamic institutions  in improving the community’s knowledge can be experienced by  them  either in the past or nowadays.  In addition,  the Islamic institutions  have contributed very much  for  creating civil society by inculcating Islamic teachings and  other kinds of disciplines into the students’ mind and heart so that  they could live hand in hand among the people after completing their study. The civil society  which is understood here   is those who can run their life among the community without  creating  chaos and  criminal as well as controversy among them.  Their tolerance with those who have different religions or different  faith  can be proved  in their life and in the way they interact one another.  In addition,  the alumnies of Islamic institutions  have done something among the community where they live in and  have  done a lot of changes  particularly in term of community’s  thoughts and  their capability  in doing  their activities in their life and their contribution to the people.
            Most of  experts and observers are in the opinion that civil society (in Arabic term it is called  al-mujtama’ al-madany)  is being formulating in Indonesia. This can be proved through the discussion  about  the acceleration of democracy  in Indonesia always discussed everywhere, the emergence  of  middle economic class coming  from higher-educated  people and more freedom to access  information anywhere and anytime.
            The civil society which was developed during the era of the prophet peace be upon him in Madinah is far different from the ones understood  by the people in Eastern Europe. They utilize civil society to launch demonstration against the government, to overthrow the ruling government and  annihilate dictatorship or autocratic government by force. Probably such atmosphere  is not recommended in Islamic way of life because it is opposing with moral values and  the eastern  culturein general. Anyway, Islam has it own way how to choose and  to discharge leaders either for regional or national leader.   
     
Islamic Universities/Institution and their Role within the Community
            There are two kinds of Islamic institutions  found in Aceh,  they are  state  Islamic Institutions and  Traditional Islamic Institutions which are called Dayah or pesantren The Dayah institutions  have played  a very important role among the Acehnese community since the existence of this institution  in the past  when Islam was  first spread in this archipelago. Dayah is the traditional institution which provides knowledge and instruction in Islamic tenet (Muhammad AR, 2001).[1] This institution  has been rooted  among the Acehnese since Islam was first introduced in this archipelago. The system, curriculum and  methodology used in transfering knowledge are also the as it used to.
            Islam came to  this archipelago in the year 850 Hijriyyah. It was first brought by Muslims  du’at (preachers) from Gujerat in India and Arabia to Peureulak, Aceh.  During this time the dayah was first established in Aceh.  In this institution  practical and theoretical religious instructions are given.  This istitution plays an important role in cultivating the people  to become knowledgeable.[2]
            After Indonesia  got independent,  Islamic institution of Ar-Raniry and University of Syiah Kuala  were established in Aceh. Nowadays, there are more universities estsblished all over Aceh. Sekolah Tinggi Islam Malikulsaleh Lhokseumawe, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Zawiyah Cot Kala Langsa, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Teungku Di Rundeng Meulaboh, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Al-Aziziyah in Samalanga Kabupaten Bireuen, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Syech Abdul Rauf in Singkil, Sekolah Tinggi Islam al-Hilal in Sigli, Sekolah Tinggi Islam Segenap Sepakat in Kutacane and etc. In addition,  Universitas Islam al-Muslim in Matang Glumpang Dua, Universitas Muhammaddiyah Aceh, Universitas Serambi Mekkah, Universitas Malikulsaleh, Lhokseumawe, Universitas  Samudra Langsa and etc. All these universities and institutions  have done very much especially  in developing Acehnese  way of thinking and interaction among the community. They have provided many kinds of disciplines to students in order to enable them run their life properly among  the people.
            State  Islamic Institute (IAIN)  or STAIN  is  a kind of higher institution which develops  Islamic way of life of society  to be  manifested  in their life  as well as to improve their skill  in accordance with their interest,  talent, and  their  own background of knowledge. The implication of this  way is to  develop Islamic education   for  improving  the quality of  faith and  devotion  and even  to become Islamic leaders  among the  believers as it is  found in the Qur’an.[3]
            The existence of IAIN is  the desires of  Indonesian Muslims  in order to improve  and spread Islamic teachings  in Indonesia (TIM, 1976).  IAIN is really expected to produce  Muslim thinkers, Islamic leaders, and Muslim scholars. They have to implement  Islamic ideas and can adjust themselves in the modern era and the institution is also really expected to be a place for  preparing the candidate of  Muslim leaders and Muslim  scholars in the future.  In addition,  the institution should  also produce Muslim intellectuals  who have owned  the best conduct and they can be examples  or  model for the people where they live in.[4]

Islamic Institution  and Civil Society       

            When we are talking about Islamic institution and civil society, we  automatically  feel that  between the institution and society cannot be separated for it is located  in the middle of community. Also,  it cannot be denied that the institution  is built or established  under the support of the people and, of course, this first program is to  empower the people/community and to produce something beneficial to them beside creating  harmonious life among the people. Actually, the civil society had been established under the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the early age of Islam in Madinah.  
            Principally’  Azyumardi Azra (1999) says that Islam supports  the emergence of civil society. The prophet Muhammad  peace be upon him, had established and developed  a pure Islamic  civil society  in Madinah in the early age of Islam.  He  had run  the country in Madinah and he could have created  harmonious community under his power. This proof is not only found  in Madinah Constitution, but also found in the way  of changing the name of Yastrib to Madinah. This term is also closely related to civil society.   
            In the nineteenth century, the concept of  civil society had been implemented in western Europe when Lech Wales, in Poland,  launched  a Solidarity Movement against  the ruling  government under General Jeruzelski. In this resistant movement, he used civil society as a basic way of his struggling against the autocratic government. This model or pattern was later penetrated to eastern Europe,  Chekolslovakia and at the same time the Communist regime of Soviet Union was collapsed. [5]Anyway, the civil society which we mean here  is not  a specific movement as it was  in Poland, but it is a  harmonious society  having  tolerance among  the people  or citizen where they are living and  a society  who are living  in peace  and  caring  each other. The existence of  Islamic institution is to produce such tolerant people who can run their life in peace and  helping one another.
            In regard to the above, in fact,  the university or higher institution is established to prepare young generation knowledge to be ready to  handle any problem faced in community development in the future. The institution’s  objective is to formulate universal human being (al-insan al-kully), or al-insan al-kamil (completed mankind) in case of their interaction with other people in this world and  their closest  relation with God as Creator of all things in this universe. This  kind of mankind who can strengthen their  unity in spreading  Islamic theology (Oneneness of God). This is the duty of  ulul albab (Muslim intellectuals) having  knowledge, wisdom, and empirical  experiences (Fuaduddin dan  Cik Hasan Bisri ed., 2002).[6]  It seems  that the point of view  is  suitable and  properly implemented  within the community where we  live in.  Because the role of those who have ever experienced  and  searched knowledge in the university or in the highest  institution. They have to  support  their  community and distribute their knowledge to those who know nothing in the rural village or isolated area.
            Actually, the civil society is those who can respect others  whether in  giving their opinion, in  implementing their  faith, in  doing something  which is accordance with their point of view, or in making decision  based on their desires and choices. This is the real meaning  of civil society which is experienced  and felt by  most people in the world  nowadays.  It seems that  such things have been  apllied by those  who  have graduated from the higher Islamic institutions whether in Aceh or in Indonesia.
Conclusion
          The role of Islamic institution or Islamic university in developing  civil society  has been done and  implemented within  the community. This has been showed  by the graduates  when they are in the community. At least they  have implemented in their life how to behave, how to act and  how to interact among the people or among the plural society in Indonesia in general. In Islamic teachings this kind of tolerance and cooperation  had been practiced  during the life of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in Madinah when he was leading the Islamic country. Our prohet had established  and run the country  fairly and implemented social justice to all people without having any intimidation,  discourtesy  and  injustice. They lived hand in hand with other people  who had different ways of life for it is one of the prophet’s  message to Muslim to respect  those who have different religions since they  are disturbing  our  religion, our economic system as well as our state safety.
            This was the civil society  established by our prophet in the past. I think it is also done by those who have ever experienced  and studied  in any Islamic institution in our  country.  Suffice it to say that  the role of higher Islamic institution  in our country  has been proved through the action or interaction  done by the graduates when they are  living among the people. Anyway,  the meaning of civil society  understood  by the West and Islam  are varied.  In  general, there is no  significant  differences since the meaning
                
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Azyumardi  Azra. (1999). Pendidikan  Islam: Tradisi dan Modernisme Menuju  Milenium Baru. (Jakarta: Logos Wacan Ilmu).
Fuaduddin dan  Cik Hasan Bisri ed., .(2002). Dinamilka Pemikiran Islam Di Perguruan Tinggi.(Jakarta,:Logos wacana Ilmu).
Hendro Prasetyio dan  Ali Munhanif, dkk. (2002).  Islam dan Civil Society.(Jakarta: PT Gramedia  Pustaka  Utama dan PPPPIM-IAIN Jakarta).
Muhaimin. (2004). Wacana Pengembangan  Pendidikan Islam.  (Surabaya: Pusat Studi Agama, Politik dan Masyarakat ).
Muhammad AR, “The Curriculum of Islamic Studies in Traditional and Modern Dayahs in Aceh. A Comparative Study”, Al-Jami’ah, Journal of Islamic Studies, Volume 39, Number 1 January-june 2001.
Tim Penyusun. (1976)  Buku Pedoman  IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah.  (IAIN Jakarta).



[1] Muhammad AR, “The Curriculum of Islamic Studies in Traditional and Modern Dayahs in Aceh. A Comparative Study”, Al-Jami’ah, Journal of Islamic Studies, Volume 39, Number 1 January-june 2001.
[2] Ibid.,
[3] Muhaimin, Wacana Pengembangan  Pendidikan Islam,  (Surabaya: Pusat Studi Agama, Politik dan Masyarakat, 2004).

[4]Azyumardi  Azra, Pendidikan  Islam: Tradisi dan Modernisme Menuju  Milenium Baru, (Jakarta: Logos Wacan Ilmu, 1999)

[5] Hendro Prasetyio dan  Ali Munhanif, dkk. (2002).  Islam dan Civil Society.(Jakarta: PT. Gramedia  Pustaka  Utama dan PPPPIM-IAIN Jakarta).

[6]Fuaduddin dan  Cik Hasan Bisri ed., Dinamilka Pemikiran Islam Di Perguruan Tinggi, (Jakarta,:Logos wacana Ilmu 2002).

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