Islamic scholar Moeslim Abdurrahman passes away
Moeslim Abdurrahman: (kompas.com)Islamic scholar long known for his audacity in fighting against religious conservatism and promoting interreligious dialogue in Indonesia Moeslim Abdurrahman died on Friday evening at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta at the age of 64.
Friend and former The Jakarta Post's chief editor Raymond Toruan confirmed Moeslim's passing.
"I've just received the news about Moeslim's passing this evening," Raymond said.
Moeslim who chairs the Ma'arif Institute for Culture is also known as a noted scholar from the country's second largest Islam organization Muhammadiyah which claims to have more than 30 million members.
Along with few other Muhammadiyah leaders during a national leadership meeting or tanwir in 2002, Moeslim was among those who conceptualized a dakwah kultural (cultural preaching approach) that was aimed at deconstructing the monolithic interpretation of Islamic religiosity by accommodating the cultural and local values that are rich in pluralistic Indonesian society. The view received strong resistance from conservative sections of Muhammadiyah, which suspected dakwah kultural as having the potential to accommodate bid'ah (heresy), regarded as being against the founding ideal of Muhammadiyah, established in 1912 by K. H. Ahmad Dahlan, to purify Islam from such belief.
Born Aug 8, 1948 to a Muhammadiyah family in Lamongan, East Java, after completing elementary school, Moeslim was sent by his parents to Raudlatul Ilmiyah Islamic boarding school in Kertosono. His parents hoped that he would become a young cleric.
But Moeslim insisted on continuing his education. Registering as a student of the Tarbiyah Program at Muhammadiyah Surakarta University and soon becoming active in student organizations.
Moeslim received his Masters and PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois, Urbana, U.S.
He once worked as a civil servant at the research and development department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs for 12 years. In the media sector, he was assistant to the editor-in-chief of Pelita daily and head of research at the Post for two years and one year respectively. (ued)