The Work of Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
"The Two Faces of Islam" -- An Indonesian View
by Ismed Sariyadi
Jl. Perjuangan No.1 Binjai – SUMUT [Indonesia]
March 2, 2010
"Wahhabism is harsh because of its close relations with the Saudi dynasty. That is important, very, very important. The Saudi dynasty felt its inferiority. Why? Because of their descent from the Nejdi personality Musalaymah the Liar." This was conveyed by the former Chairman of the Nadhatul Ulama (the 40 million-member Indonesian Sufi movement), Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), discussing the book by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz titled The Two Faces of Islam: Fundamentalism and Moderation Vs. Global Discourse, at the University Auditorium Nurcholish Madjid Paramadina Jl. Gatot Subroto, Kav. 96-97, Mampang Prapatan South Jakarta, Wednesday night, October 31, 2007. The book was originally titled The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror (2002), translated and published in Indonesian by the Wahid Institute in September 2007.
At the time of Prophet Muhammad, Musaylima the Liar never claimed to be a prophet. He lived between Jeddah and Yemen. And, according to Gus Dur, that was where the Saudi dynasty built its palace.
"When Faisal became king, the name was changed to the Riyadh Palace. The problem is that we need to know history exactly, let us not be one-sided," Gus Dur said. "Islamic humility was replaced by the claim that only Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab was correct. Wahhabism became a means to cover up the history of the Sa'ud dynasty," said Gus Dur.
"I know this from recorded fact. Objectivity is important and requires an attitude that is really deep and unprejudiced in its thinking," he added.
The book event was attended by hundreds of people.
Commenting on the contents of the book, Jalaluddin Rachmat said, the book really shows only one face of Wahhabi Islam, but it will strike hard at the Wahhabi missionaries in this country. They serve as loudspeakers paid for by the petrodollars accumulated in the Arabian peninsula," he said. "The Saudis will be very displeased with this book."
Kang Jalal offered greetings, and then presented some specific features of the Wahhabi movement. First, it sees itself as the most sacred and true interpretation. "He was the most correct and everyone else had gone astray. Only he was on the straight path, following the Sunnah, and everyone else was a heretic. The world was divided between the adherents of pure monotheism led by him and the rest who were polytheists," he said.
Second comes opposition to pluralism. "They're very exclusive. They believe that heaven is reserved for the Wahhabis," he explained.
Third was opposition to local traditions, except the Arabian desert tradition. "They hated all the shrines people visited," he said.
And fourth, anti-intellectualism. "We must obey the revelation of the Qur'an and Sunnah, and in addition, their interpretation. We are forbidden to follow any interpretation that deviates from their interpretation," he said.
"Notwithstanding all the possibilities that are fulfilled in us, God willing, our religion becomes evil. And God willing, we become the new terrorists to spread fear around us," he said. "And, the greatest enemy and most disliked by them are the Shias," added Kang Jalal to laughter.
Related Topics: Indonesia, Wahhabism, WahhabiWatch
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