Religious Tolerance: A Santri’s Perspective

All the praises are belong to Allah, who created human in many nations and tribes to be acquainted with and respect each other. We also always send congratulations and greetings to our prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who became the leader of Moslem in understanding the difference as Allah’s mercy, and Allah’s gift that can make people brilliants by the dynamic of difference which constructive and optimist.

We have to be sad in this multicultural era, in the country that has a first moral principle, belief in one god, but we still got the violence that attacking other religions or close their prayer places. “Killing faith” or “Theological Killing” becomes a leg imitation for them to make it legal. Actually those actions are anti divinity and anti humanity.

More over in this contemporary adventure, some religious group who chose violence for their mission have been giving some ammunitions and infestations that is not little for scratching religion face. They never think that violence is not giving them any good result for their religion, but instead became unproductive, more over it spots stained their religion. Basically the religion is peace, polite, and happy. So the question is how this intolerance and the violence that related with the religion can be over?

So for this case in this happy opportunity, I would like to make a short opinion by the title:  "Religious Tolerance: A Santri's Perspective”

Talking inter-religion tolerance is become significant and urgent by the time that there is a lot of religious grudges lately. This case is a real chalange for us to formulate a concept of tolerance in religion correctly especially in this nation condition. So the intern and extern among religion believers will be harmonious.

We know that tolerance in Arabic called Al-tasamuh; actually it’s one of the Islamic teaching points. Tolerance is the same like other fundamental teachings like love (Rahmah), wisdom (hikmah), public benefit (mashlahah ‘ammah), and justice (‘adl).

As one of the fundamental teaching, tolerance concept has been mentioned in Al-qur’an. Al-qur’an has statement that different religion it’s not an obstacle for us to make a relationship with other religion believers. Don’t we know that Allah created this world neither for one group or special tribe? There are many kind of religions in this world, but it doesn’t mean that Allah correct the discrimination on them. Allah wants people to admit the existence of them. Allah said:

ياأيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وانثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا إن اكركم عند الله اتقيكم

The meaning is: O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made `you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

From that surah above we know that plurality is become pluralism. Pluralism is a history law (sunatullah) that we can’t reject it. It’s a superior in this life. More over in Islam, pluralism is accepted as Allah’s mercy. Hasn’t that our prophet said in the hadist:

اختلاف أمتى رحمة

But in this reality or in our daily life, plurality is a stumbling block for going strong and going well. Currently, we saw the proud of tolerance in Indonesia is disappearing by some violence that pretend by the name of the religion. Isn’t that right? In this reality they burn the prayer places, how many thousand people died in many religion conflicts? Will that human tragedy repeat again? Wouldn’t be enough the long tragedy of Ahmadiyah, tragedy of Temanggung, and bomb tragedy in Utan Kayu are valuable lessons for us?

There is no reasons for us being intolerance and inconsiderate with other people who are not Moslem. Letting people to have a religion beside Islam is one of our duty as Moslem. On the other words we can say that forcing in religion is not suitable with the standard and human values as free creations and also it is not suitable with Islamic teaching it self. Allah says:

لااكراه فى الدين قد تبين الرشد من الغي

The meaning is “there is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error”(QS, al-Baqarah/2:256)

Every believer has to belief that his or her religion is true. But in the same time, they have to respect other believers who have a same idea. It’s privacy. And it would be worthless to force somebody to embrace some religion if they don’t really belief to that religion. so they will unserious or pretend like embracing that religion.

We know that god gave us a mind that an distinguish which one is good and bad, so they can choose which one is the right religion for him or her that can take them whether in this world or on the here after.     

To fix the relationship that has been torn to pieces, I think now is the time for make some steps tactically and strategically.

First, we have to formulate the realization guide and technical guide of religion tolerance in Indonesia, and one group or religion can’t discuss it by them selves, but it has to be discussed by all the people from every group or religion in this country. In this forum we can discussed any crucial problems about the relationship among the religions.

Second, we have to learn more about the basic and fiqih thought in Islam and kanonik concept in other religion that really hamper the socialization of tolerance and pluralism in religion. Therefore, in Islam for example some concepts of old conventional like apostate, non-Moslem, master of holy book, and polytheism need to be more learned in this plurality country.

Third, we need to prepare the militant missionaries who distribute the religion with the tolerance of religion in practical level and grass root level. Some intellectual elites who use to speak up loudly about the tolerance and pluralism have to go to the field do some actions in religion tolerance movement. So by this way, the tolerance phenomenal not only being a phenomenal in intellectuals at the city, but it can go through regular society. Because actually tolerance problem in religion is not exist in intellectual but it’s exist in low society.

Fourth, in socialize the religion tolerance we need to guide them to few things of mu’amalah diniyah. It’s mean to campaign the religion we shouldn’t discuss about the ritual religion technically from some religions, because the difference in that case will not be sin crone among the religions. Thus, about the procedure of ubudhiyah mahdhah is not productive and wouldn’t touch the deeper structure in solving the religion conflict.

If all of us can think like this, I’m sure that we can build this country to get away from multidimensional crisis and finally we will have baldatun thoyyibatun wa robbun ghafur.

From what I said above I can conclude that to build some harmony theology, the only thing that we need is to be open to other religion. and open minded can we realize if we admit the plurality of the society.

by Mukhlisin and Idham BZ
Teacher of Ali Maksum Islamic High School
Pondok Pesantren Krapyak Yogyakarta

2 thoughts on “Religious Tolerance: A Santri’s Perspective

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