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A Wholesome Tolerance: Answering the Defamation View of the Salafi Sect

There is a wisdom hidden behind the act of the brothers from Jakarta Salafi who stopped one Quraan recitation and dismissed themselves after their majlis (forum) were attended by friends from Lesbumi. How should we react to that?

It was Sunday, February 14, 2016; the Commission for Salafi Ahlusunnah (fake) Study held a Quraan study and recitation for men, located in Al Mujahidin mosque, Block A Jalan Anggrek Nelimurni VII, Slipi, West Jakarta. The theme for that day’s study is a little provocative: Apostasy Behind the network of Islam of Nusantara movement. Information about this event was spread openly, which tickled me to find out about it further. Accompanied by a friend, I went to the location. It was ten in the morning and members of the jamaah (salafi) had gathered, making the mosque quite full. They all wore the distinctive, typical salafian attire, while me and my friend dressed casually, with only plain shirt and pantaloons, not even a peci (traditional Indonesian cap) adorned our heads.

Several friends from Lesbumi PBNU were planning to come too, so we waited for them at a guard post about 200 meters from the mosque. Our friends came around eleven o’clock, and we immediately started to the mosque. But, alas; as soon as we stepped into the mosque-- our friends from Lesbumi wore what were characteristics of a padepokan (traditional religious school), which was blangkon (traditional Javanese headband), and all black shirts and sarongs—the preacher gave an abrupt halt to his speech. In short, the study was cancelled for that day, all because our black-clad, padepokan style friends from Lesbumi came.

At first we were a little disappointed since we had zero information on how and what was the content of the study that day. But our disappointment wasn’t there for long, because it turned out that two friends from Nahdlatul Ulama University had recorded all the material of speech from the very first start. They were also had a chance to purchase Asy Syariah magazine, which appeared to be an exclusively distributed publication.

In the Preface to edition #112, issued on the year 2016, Asy Syariah magazine which is published by Oase Media Publishing Co, located in No. 26 B Gang Kenanga, Km 5 Jalan Godean, Patran, Banyuraden, Gamping, Sleman, Yogyakarta, set forth a headline that went “The Thick Mask of the Islam of Nusantara”.

The opening paragraph went, “A new mask mimicking the all blessed rahmatan lil ‘alamin (blessings for all) had emerged in this country. It’s a writhing face wearing a heavy makeup of moderate, tolerance, peace loving and respect to diversity. Reputedly, “their” Islam is the Islam who gives affection, not conviction; Islam who nurtures, not tortures; Islam with a heart, not rant; Islam who entice to repentance, not judge with blasphemy; etc etc.”

Further in the article Asy Syariah mentioned about how the Islam of Nusantara had proved embosoming to others, but those whom they embosom were Shiite, Ahmadiyah, Christian, Hindus, Buddhist and other non-Muslim groups; whereas to their own brothers in Islam who practice Islamic teachings which are different with their versions, Islam of Nusantara put them as a nemesis, the real enemy.

Moreover, to Muslims who practice Islamic teachings that consistent to what was brought by the Prophet himself, Islam of Nusantara enticed to repentance by doing blasphemies and even slanders.

Thus was the preface from the Editors of the Asy Syariah, where furthermore they affirmed their intention to compile a ‘JIN’[i] (Jaringan Islam Nusantara) dictionary to accommodate various terms (in Islam of Nusantara) they claimed to be “unclear”.

Attach from the motives of Jakarta Salafi in holding an open study  forum but then abruptly stopped it when friends from Lesbumi came, there are several things in the preface in Asy Syariah magazine that tickled our interest.

“The ‘nurtures, not tortures’ attitude brought forth by one of the notable figures in JIN, which boasted the all-loving ‘do with a heart, not a rant’ (was in question) when he showed resentment toward beards. Keeping a beard, which is one of the Prophet’s teachings—many ulama even stipulate it as compulsory—is being dwarfed as an Arabian custom. People with beards are deemed stupid. Is he forgot that the founder of the mass organization that he leads now, with all of its kyai, are all wearing beards?’

Furthermore, “If (they) claimed to be so tolerant, then why they resent beards so much?! If (they) claimed tolerant, why rant when there are people around who try to wear an attire that covers up their aurat[ii]? If (they) claimed to be tolerant, why resent the people who don’t perform tahlilan[iii]? Using only stupid logic, isn’t it true that Christians, Buddhist, Hindu, Kong Hu Cu are also do not perform tahlilan. Isn’t the renunciation of tahlilan is also a part of the diversity which (they) boast all the time? Why brought Pancasila to this tahlilan thing? Who is the stupid one, whose conviction in Pancasila that should be doubted?”

When I read this last citation of the paragraph I couldn’t help thinking, “Perhaps when they cut the speech short, when our friends from Lesbumi entered the mosque, they were in the middle of doing Umar ibn Khaththab’s counsel that went:

“Thou shalt not speaketh about the matter that was in no use to thee. Know thy enemies. Beware of thy friends, other than the trusted ones. Nobody could be trusted, other than those who feareth Allah. Thou shalt not walketh with those with ruineth (moral), till they taught thee their wickedness. Thou shalt not openeth thy secrets to them, and refraineth from discussing thy problems other than with those who feareth Allah.”

Yes, that citation from the book Shifatu ash Shafwah, page 109, in the Asy Syariah magazine were printed right on the first page after the cover. On the upper hand corner was written the words: Permata Salaf, the Jewel of the Salaf.

Although the aforementioned sayyidina Umar’s counsel is multi-interpretative, especially the line “except for those who feareth Allah (illa man yakhsyaa ‘llaahu)”; but it’s still a good thing to ponder about the “grouse” from our brothers who called themselves Jakarta Salafi, and then addressing it in a positive manner. That way we could really carry out a wholesome tolerance, and maintain an objective view on every little thing.


[i] Jin, Romanized as djinn or genie in English, are supernatural creatures in early Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology; it is said that djinn are notorious and full of mischief; thus the use of the word “jin” by Asy Syariah magazine to address the proponents of Islam of Nusantara was pun-intended.

[ii] Part of the body which should not be exposed

[iii] Tahlil is the repeated citation of the confession of faith (lâ illâha ilallâh, there is no god but Allah); tahlilan is a ritual held after somebody passed away, in which the family of the deceased recite tahlil for several nights in a row in order to accompany the deceased with a “provision” for his journey to the land of the dead.


By: Muhaji Fikriono, author of Puncak Makrifat Jawa, with Dedik Priyanto