A Lesson of Islam and Democracy from Indonesia

By: Hamdi Putra Ahmad*

The one of most important points wich is very suitable to be discussed about Indonesia in this contemporer era is about the relation between democracy and Islamic values there. We know that Indonesia has the biggest muslim population in the world. So, it should promote how the character of Islam used by the Muslim there while living with others. In fact, although there are so many muslims life there, the government of Indonesia doesn’t make its national laws base on Islamic ordinance as known as lot of other muslim countries do know, such as Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. Indonesia still stand by its own principals. As we know that the highest principal it had was named Pancasila (five pillars). These five pillars were created by the “founding fathers” in 1945. They struggled and immolated themselves to reach Indonesian freedom from Netherland and Japan. Morever, majority of them had been known as Muslim Intellectualists.

Now we have to examine about the essence of Pancasila. Pancasila is the title of Indonesia’s fundamental laws. It means that all of the laws wich are created by the Indonesia parlements must be suitable with it. These are the points of them: First, believe in the one and only God; Second, just and civilize humanity; third, the unity of Indonesia; fourth, democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongs representatives; fifth, social justice for all of the people of Indonesia. All of them are related with an official national motto of Indonesia as Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). All of Them are created as illustration of a harmony diversity life in Indonesia. They talk about theology, conciliation, unity, sociality, and democracy.

Beside Pancasila as its highest fundamental laws, Indonesia also has the stems of law. It will be contrived by legislative parliament wich is named DPR. This department will contrive the stem of laws by democratic systems, such as discussion and acclamation. The people who involve in this parliament are the representatives of civilian’s aspirations and wills. And all if this is reflection of democracy.

Islam has supported people to work together. Islam also asks people to prioritize their common necessities. These are as same as democratic system. As we know, Prophet Muhammad often encouraged his companions to discuss about some plans or strategies before doing a work. His position as a Prophet and Messenger of God did not make him being an selfish and arrogant person. That is one of Allah’s guidence wich mentioned in the Qur’an chapter 3 verse 159, “… So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter.. ” this verse explains that Allah asks his messenger to actuate consultation with his companions.  Doesn’t democracy has the same goal with it? So, there is  no way to say that Indonesia is the country wich opposes the Ideology of Islam. Morever, it has supported one of Islamic fundamental principal wich is named Musyawarah.

In the other side, Indonesia also assents its civilians having participations in nation lifes. Everyone can pronounce their ideas to make the government running well. In this point, Indonesia gives its appretiation and respect to everyone who cares about their nation. There is no hindrances or prevention from the government. Everyone has the same competency and privilege. There are many ways to pronounce their opinions, such as writing on the medias, saying to legislative parliaments, demonstrating, etc. This reality explains that Indonesia always respects with everyone who wants to correct everything wich is wrong. All of these are as same as a messege of the Qur’an in chapter 3 verse 104 wich said that Allah asked people pronouncing what is right and forbidding what is wrong without stare at any classifications or professions.

“And let there be (arising) from you a nation inviting to (all this) good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the succesfull.”.

So, in this aspect there is no reason to say that democacy in Indonesia has been resists Islamic principal.

Indonesian demoratic system has been run well since tragedy of Reformation. This tragedy happened in 1998.

According to information acquired from United Nations (UN), Indonesia has 13.466 islands. But in fact, there are about 17.500 islands there. The original residents are dessiminated in those islands, even though not all. This situation engenders that they live in plural and various traditions, languanges, and cultures. So, this plural conditions and aspects have been affiliating with them until now. They live together under a shelter named Pancasila peacefully.

These all are about relations between domocracy and Islam in Indonesia. In fact, if we want to examine in depth, we will get that Indonesia has the one of the best nations in this world, wich has a good relationship between Islam and democracy amongs their community of life. So, there is no reason to make any disturbances, dissensions, or conflicts that will disrupt our unity under the shelter of Islam and democracy.


*The writer is member of CSSMoRA UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta period 2015, Interpretation and Al-Qur’an direction.

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