History of Islamic Socialism in Indonesia, Ideology of Liberation of the Weak

Writer:Eric Mohamad

January 13, 2023

History of Islamic Socialism in Indonesia
HOS Tjokroaminoto (left) and H. Agoes Salim (bottom right) along with railroad workers in Semarang who joined Islamic socialism in the 20th century. Photo: Ist/Net

History of Islamic Socialism in Indonesia, Idea

Islamic socialism was an ideology of liberation for the weak at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as in Indonesia. At that time, Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) was still in colonial grip, many Indonesian people were imprisoned for their freedom due to discriminatory colonial rules.

One of the rules is not allowed to be in the same restaurant with Europeans even though native people are richer than them. In addition, native people are also not allowed to go to school just like Europeans except for children of royal descent.

This happened due to the regulations at that time requiring that the indigenous weak ( Inlanders ) be lower than the two groups above it (Foreign East) and (Europe: Netherlands, England, France, etc.).

Thus the indigenous people rebelled because there were supporters behind them, namely the ideology of Islamic socialism.

But lately this ideology is rarely revealed. Even though Islamic socialism prepared the Indonesian people to get out of the colonial system so much.

Perhaps because Islamic socialism is synonymous with communist teachings, it is one of the reasons why people rarely discuss and comment on it, including in academic lecture forums in Indonesia.

Also Read: Profile of Inggit Garnasih: Faithfully Accompany Sukarno Exiled, Divorced when Indonesia was Independent

The History of the Emergence of Islamic Socialism in Indonesia

Apart from appearing to defend the weak, apparently one that inspired the emergence of the ideology of Islamic socialism, namely the blind industrialization in the Dutch East Indies.

Islamic socialism was a response to the economic downturn due to the massive industrialization that occurred in the early 20th century in the Dutch East Indies.

This incident resulted in the layoff of a large number of employees at the factory because their energy was replaced by machines.

Economic difficulties appear evenly in the social environment of rural communities. This event attracted a lot of attention from indigenous Islamic political figures, none other than HOS Tjokroaminoto.

He used the mouthpiece Syarikat Islam (a political party that opposed colonial policies) to spread the ideology of Islamic socialism. At first he and his friend H. Agoes Salim popularized Islamic socialism since 1905.

Islamic socialism for them is a way of rejecting Marxism and Communism but by exploring the social aspects that exist in Islamic teachings. In other words, attract the good and useful, throw away the dirty and irrelevant.

According to Nor Huda in a book entitled ” Social Intellectual History of Islam in Indonesia ” (2015), this group tries to bring up a discourse of Islamic socialism that leads to Islamic teachings about the concept of justice and liberation for the weak.

They succeeded in presenting the ideology of Islamic Socialism because they received a lot of warm welcome from the Javanese people.

Likewise with the followers of H. Agoes Salim in Sumatra, they welcomed the same response as the Javanese people towards the concept of Syarikat Islam with the ideology of Islamic socialism.

Also Read: Haji Agus Salim, HBS Student Rejects Kartini Scholarship to Netherlands

Islamic Socialism Discourse Supports the Liberation of the Weak

HOS Tjokroaminoto with H. Agoes Salim accepted the affiliation of Marxism and Communism with Islam. They reason to accept this because between Islam and Communism/Marxism ideologically boils down to the same issue, namely, ” Liberation of the weak” .

Therefore the discourse of Islamic socialism among farmers, workers and other civil society affected by industrialization supports this ideology. They want to be free and have a job to support their family.

If industrialization can’t stop, at least they want to get technology education so they can work side by side with industrialization machines.

Apart from H. Agoes Salim and HOS Tjokroaminoto, there are two other figures who have more radical views on Islamic socialism. They are HM Misbach and Haroen Rasjidi.

They support the ideology of Islamic socialism growing within the membership of Syarikat Islam. They even made a discourse that they would give domination of communist teachings in Syarikat Islam. As a result, Syarikat Islam split into two. Some were based on Tjokro’s orders, some were loyal to Semaoen.

They are both big figures of the white Syarikat Islam and the abangan Islamic Syarikat . The beginning of this split was none other than the impact of an interpretation of Islamic socialism that went too far.

Islamic Socialism Was Born Early in the West

Based on observations from Nor Hoda’s writings, which stated that Tjokroaminoto often read Islamic books rather than English-language literature, it is very likely that the ideology of Islamic socialism existed in the West earlier than Islamic socialism in the Dutch East Indies.

This is what Tjokroaminoto said, he learned the thoughts of Islamic socialism from Islamic thinkers with the Ahmadiyah wing in the West. Because he could not understand Arabic script, Tjokro was forced to read Islamic materials from Ahmadiyya books which were in English.

Among other things, such as Muhammad Ali’s commentary book entitled, “The Holy Qur’an ” and Syed Ameer Ali entitled, “ The Spirit of Islam ”. These books inspired Tjokroaminoto to fight for Islamic socialism in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

Also Read: Operation Dutch Crow 1948, Strategy to Reconquer Indonesia

Unlike other clerics in general who spent years in Haramayn to study with great clerics in Mecca, Tjokro studied Islamic teachings on his own.

According to Tjokro himself, the most relevant book gave birth to the ideology of Islamic socialism, namely the Ahmadiyya book entitled, ” Islam and Socialism “.

Apart from giving birth to the ideology of Islamic socialism, studying Islam on his own made Tjokroaminoto productive in writing. In the history of Syarikat Islam, Tjokro is famous for producing several Islamic writings as follows:

” Islam and Socialism, Islamic Religious History, History of Views of the Prophet Muhammad and the Journey of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, Aasas Program, Tadhim Program of the Indonesian Islamic Sarekat Party, and General Reglement for Muslims.” (Erik/R7/HR-Online/Editor-Ndu)

source https://www.harapanrakyat.com/2023/01/sejarah-sosialisme-islam-di-indonesia-ideologi-pembebasan-kaum-lemah/

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