How related is the niqab to radicalism?

There is little difference between the recent plan by new Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi to recommend banning the niqab (full-faced veil) in government offices and last year’s cancelled niqab ban for students of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University (UIN) in Yogyakarta.

The minister’s explicit justification was one of security; the UIN rector cited the face as a primary identity marker. But implicitly, both had the same underlying assumption: The niqab or cadar signifies an embrace of radicalism. Although it’s ill-defined, the term radicalism here simply means the ideology that attempts to change the Indonesian republic into an Islamic state.

However, there is only a thin connection between wearing the niqab and radicalism. Continue reading


Dari sejak zaman Aristoteles, Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, as-Sullam al-Munawraq, hingga Madilog-nya Tan Malaka, ilmu logika/mantiq menyatakan bahwa definisi yang sempurna (hadd tamm) disusun oleh genus terdekat (jins qarib) plus differentia (fashl) yang membentuk esensi dari X (yang membuat X adalah X). Bila definisi itu disusun dengan genus jauh (jins ba’id), definisi itu kurang sempurna (hadd naqish). Bila definisi memakai sifat/aksiden (‘ardh), baik umum maupun khusus, dan bukan dengan differentia, maka ia disebut deskripsi (rasm) saja. Continue reading

Al-Ghazali dan Descartes

Ini bukan hal baru bagi para pengkaji al-Ghazali dan sejarah filsafat, tapi saya baru mengetahuinya: ada kemungkinan besar bahwa pemikiran Descartes (abad 17) mengenai skeptisisme metodologis mendapat pengaruh dari al-Ghazali (abad 11). Satu penelitian terkenal yang menyinggung hal ini ialah disertasi doktoral Mahmoud Hamdi Zaqzouq di Munich University pada 1968. Disertasi ini diterjemahkan dan diterbitkan dalam bahasa Arab dengan judul al-Manhaj al-Falsafi bayn al-Ghazali wa Dikart (Metode Filsafat antara al-Ghazali dan Descartes). Zaqzouq sempat menjadi dekan Fakultas Ushuluddin Al-Azhar dan cukup lama menjabat Menteri Wakaf Mesir. Continue reading

NU after the elections: more nationalism, less democracy?

Support from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) was a key factor in President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)’s victory in the 2019 election. An exit poll from Indikator Politik showed that most people claiming affiliation to NU voted for Jokowi, with a 12% increase compared to the 2014 election. On the ground, a shift in endorsements and support from Prabowo to Jokowi within big NU pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) across Java was highly visible during the campaign period. Today, NU elites publicly express that they contributed significantly to helping Jokowi secure his second presidential term.

Questions now revolve around what NU expects in return from Jokowi, and whether it will exert a significant degree of influence over the direction of Jokowi’s policies on religion. NU’s desire for a reward for its massive mobilisation for Jokowi is not really surprising, given the horse-trading that had been going on ahead of the last elections. But it is NU’s promoting a strong religious nationalism, and doing so from its strongest position ever in government, that will perhaps have the most long-lasting effects for Indonesia’s religio-political discourse in the coming years.

~ Read the rest of the article on New Mandala.