GAI and Its Challenges

By : Mulyono | Translated by : Yatimin AS | Edisi Bahasa Indonesia

Gerakan Ahmadiyah Indonesia (The Indonesia Ahmadiyya Movement, furthermore mentioned as GAI), which is also popular with the term of Ahmadiyah Lahore, it is autonomous organization, not a part of any organization. This organization is fully active in spreading Islam in Indonesia, by publishing the Islamic books, organizing the formal education, etc.

As a legal organization in the law and its existence is admitted by the government, so a number of important Islamic books published by GAI get formal permit from the government, and those are spread to anyone openly. Likewise, all the educational institutions organized by GAI, which is technically organized by Yayasan Perguruan Islam Republik Indonesia (The Islamic Education Foundation of Republic of Indonesia (PIRI)) it  also gets legality from the government, whose students come from various community groups, both Moslem and non-Moslem. Through these two efforts, the religious ideas of GAI have been spreading since this organization was founded in 1928.

Therefore no wonder if there were a lot of Indonesia national movement figures and independence leaders made use of the religious ideas of GAI, like Haji Agoes Salim, HOS Tjokroaminoto and Ruslan Abdul Ghani. Moreover Bung Karno, who proclaims the independence and the first President of Republic of Indonesia declared openly the great benefit of the books published by GAI. Therefore, if there are still some persons or a group of people who don’t understand the religious ideas of GAI, up to this moments, it is almost certain because of the literature poverty or mere misunderstanding.

Misunderstanding about GAI still exist in a small part of people, generally is not because of the religious concept followed and spread by GAI, but because of Ahmadiyah label sticking to this organization name. They assumed that GAI was not different from other organization had similar name with GAI by chance. Nevertheless, the misunderstanding has never grown into conflict up to now, moreover it didn’t bring about the violence to GAI members anywhere in Indonesia. Hopefully, such condition will be in the future.

Various conflict events concerning Ahmadiyah wherever in Indonesia, there is no relation to GAI. Therefore, institution and personal of GAI never became the objective of violence action from anywhere side. Nevertheless, those conflict events brought about deep concern for all GAI members. Therefore, GAI always supports every effort to look for a fair accomplishment from anywhere side. In this case, GAI repeatedly has been involved by the government side in looking for the best accomplishment in connection with the Ahmadiyah case.

The existence of two organizations which use the same name “Ahmadiyah” in Indonesia is an undeniable law fact. However, it needs to be known that there is no relation between both of them organizationally as well as ideologically. The last mentioned is especially in an amount of the religious concept and practice. Concerning the existence of organizational and ideological differences, not only have been explained by GAI since its establishment, but also repeatedly have been explained and socialized by the government side. It is not less from the president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in front of the national level model teachers in Istana Negara Jakarta (2005), he has explained the existence of differences of those two Ahmadiyah. Likewise minister of Religion Maftuh Basuni (2006) and Surya Dharma Ali. Perhaps, due to the explanation about the differences between those two Ahmadiyah is so important to be explained to the Indonesia community, that the government issued the joint decision letter of three ministers (SKB 3 Mentri) about Ahmadiyah (2008).

Those various efforts from the government side, besides to protect the people group who are considered as a conflict cause by the other people group, also to prevent, so that the similar conflict does not happen again. According to me, the government has made the best efforts, especially in connection with the Ahmadiyah case. On one side the government kept respecting the differences of existing religious view, whereas on other side the government also gave protection, so that the group did not become the objective of violence action from the other people group. Therefore, those government efforts must be supported by all people.

GAI is a movement of spreading Islam, the spreading efforts are carried out with peaceful methods. The word Ahmadiyah used as a name of this organization, refers to the other name of Prophet Muhammad saw. Mentioned in the Holy Quran Surah Ash-Shaff verse 6, namely Ahmad. This name contains the beauty (jamaliyah) aspects in the Prophet Muhammad saw. personality, the manifestation are moral beauty, heart beauty, gentleness, etc. So the purpose of using the word Ahmadiyah in the name of  GAI organization in order that the people serving in this organization perceive it and then actualize those Ahmadiyah characteristics (beauty characteristics), not only in the context of speading Islam effort, but also in the context of social life, namely moral beauty, humble attitude and gentleness.

Indonesia nation is a nation revering religion as a moral and spiritual base in constructing civilization. Long before formed this country, various kinds of religion have been available, they grew and expanded in this archipelago, which were not rare to occur inter-religion follower conflict. The independence of Republic of Indonesia proclaimed on August 17, 1945 must pass a long process until it reached an agreement that the difference in various matters did not block to live side by side peacefully in the unity country of Republic of Indonesia.

The language differences were united in Indonesian language, the differences of social and others were united in Pancasila as a joint life philosophy, and the religion differences were united in the explicit statement was in the constitution 1945, i.e. “The country based on the One God”. In the last thing mentioned, actually contains meaning that the Indonesian people with various kinds of religions and beliefs followed, they have agreed to end the religion and belief conflict. So it must be said that the conflict in the name of religions and beliefs, moreover the violence action, actually injure the agreement very much. It is not impossible, if this matter is not paid attention by all sides, so the harmony and peacefulness principles will shatter and end with the destruction of the unity country of Republic of Indonesia as well. These are big challenges faced by GAI. The aim of GAI establishment is to create peaceful inner life on this Pancasila earth.

In the GAI perspective, Islam is a religion guiding its followers to achieve the peaceful life through two methods, i.e. to submit him/herself entirely to Allah (aslama wajhahulillah) and to do good deeds to the fellow human being (mukhsin). Allah is the only God, He is the One and the Almighty Substance (God). According to me, all Indonesian people whatever their religion and belief, they believe to the One and the Almighty God. If the perception of everyone about the God (Allah) is different, this is influenced by many factors. The good deeds are the fruit of the tree of faith in Allah. Due to Allah is Very good God and He must teach goodness, so the faith in Him must produce good deeds as well. According to me, to hurt the fellow human being because of religion difference or religious view, is contradictory with the faith in Allah.

In this context, hurting is not only in the physical meaning, but also in the non-physical meaning. For example, there is a person or a group in Islam mentioning other person outside his/her group as an unbeliever (kafir). Of course that treatment will hurt the hearts of Moslem majority. If this heartsick feeling is not controlled, it can be expressed in various forms of physical violence action, along with the openness of freedom era to express in Indonesia, after the reformation 1998. All GAI members always repeat one of the promises to themselves that they will not hurt the fellow human being, by hand, words, and by other methods. There is another promise, i.e. They will love the fellow human being, for the sake of their love to Allah and His messenger, Muhammad saw.

According to GAI belief, this era is the promised era by Allah as the Islamic victory era. But GAI has view too, the Islamic victory does not mean a group victory on another group, or one side victory on another side defeat. Islam is not a person, not a group, so the Islam enemy is not a person or a group too. The Islam enemy indeed are such as polytheism, hypocrisy, infidel state, ignorance, etc; all of them can reside in anyone chest, both Moslem and non-Moslem. The victory of Islam only means the victory of value, namely the truth values taught by Islam. The truth values victory will be admitted and carried out as universal truth, such as honesty, fairness, peace, tolerance attitude, etc. Islam is a natural religion, so its teaching truth must be in accordance with the natural demand of all mankind.

It almost can be ascertained that everyone wants peace. This is condition which wants to be achieved by Islam. Therefore, in my opinion, it is impossible that Islam can be upheld with stones throw, wood stroke and boom explosion.[]

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