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THE FATWA OF MAJELIS TARJIH MUHAMMADIYAH

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15 November 2018 22:44 WIB
Dibaca: 85
Penulis : PRADANA BOY ZULIAN

 

This article is Chapter 7 of the Thesis of Pradana Boy Zulian

 

 

THE FATWA OF MAJELIS TARJIH MUHAMMADIYAH

 

One salient feature of Muhammadiyah movement is its critical thinking, which by its nature will enable it to re-interrogate the encounter of “text” and “realities, or between “normativity” of the Qur’ān and Sunna and the “historicity” of Muslims’ understanding of respective texts in certain periods (M. Amin Abdullah). 1

 

1. Introduction

 

Muhammadiyah is widely known as an Islamic movement which promotes social reforms and new understanding of Islamic teachings including Islamic law. In this field, Muhammadiyah’s legal stance is manifested in the adherence of a non-madhhab principle and belief in the urgency of performing ijtihād. This legal stance was later formulated in the establishment of a council called Majelis Tarjih, which is specifically responsible for solving Islamic legal problems within the movement, in particular, and Indonesian Muslims in general.

 

Some studies maintain that this council has been effective in giving effect to the most essential principle of Islamic law, the maqāṣid al-sharī’a 2 and to play an instrumental role as a body which facilitates collective ijtihādwithin the movement. 3 Scholars examining non-ritual fatwā of Majelis Tarjih, have also highlighted the rationality of the agency and its success in purifying and dynamizing Islam.4 In other words, Majelis Tarjih is deemed significant in the formulation and dynamization of Muhammadiyah’s legal thought. Based on this very fact, it is believed that the Majelis is the locomotive for Muhammadiyah’s tajdīd (religious reform) movement.5

 

However, currently, Majelis Tarjih has been subject to frequent criticism for being irresponsive and rigid in dealing with contemporary legal issues. Consequently, the general impression that has emerged is that Muhammadiyah is undergoing a shift towards conservative leaning. This claim is based on the wider observation of Muhammadiyah as a movement characterized by two competing groups and orientations, conservative and progressive wings over certain critical issues. 6 In the context of this competing thought, Majelis Tarjih is frequently seen as proponent of the progressive group as opposed to Majelis Tabligh (the missionary council) which is viewed as the conservative wing. This classification may be conditioned by the fact that the Majelis Tarjih underwent significant “reform” in orientation and method.

 

This chapter is an examination of Muhammadiyah’s mode of thought by focusing on Majelis Tarjih’s fatwā and its legal thought. It will criticallyexamine the extent to which the association of Muhammadiyah as reformist movement is reflected in the fatwā of Majelis Tarjih especially in the post-New Order period. As analyzing Majelis Tarjih cannot be isolated from Muhammadiyah in general, this chapter will revisit some basic facts of Muhammadiyah which include its history, fundamental doctrines, legal thought and recent developments impacting on the movement. In terms of fiqh, Muhammadiyah declares itself as a non-madhhab Islamic group which, among other things, means that it does not adhere to the teachings of any madhhab including Shafiʽi. However, despite this non-madhhab doctrine, Muhammadiyah has basically developed its own madhhab in the so-called Madhhab Tarjih. Factors conditioning the prevalence of its mode of thought including the nature of transmission of Islamic legal knowledge within Muhammadiyah and its impact on legal thought or fatwā will also be discussed.

 

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