The Jakarta Post
An encyclopedia on Muhammadiyah was published in Yogyakarta on Tuesday, presenting the history of Muhammadiyah as a socio-religious movement as well as the biographies, teachings and thoughts of its founding fathers.
Published jointly by Mata Bangsa publishing house, Yogyakarta Muhammadiyah University's ( UMY ) Education, Research and Community Development Institute ( LP3M ) and the Yogyakarta chapter of Muhammadiyah, the 900-page book is an up-to-date historical text on Muhammadiyah since it was established by Ahmad Dahlan in 1912.
'This book is very important because it records Muhammadiyah's journey over the last 100 years,' UMY rector Bambang Cipto said during the book's launch at Asri Medical Center in Yogyakarta.
'With the book's publication, hopefully Muhammadiyah will continue to thrive in the future.'
The book, launched to celebrate Muhammadiyah's centennial, is also meant to be a comprehensive reflection and evaluation of the country's second-largest Islamic organization.
The book's launch was symbolically marked with the handing over of a copy of the book to a representative of Muhammadiyah's central executive board, Dahlan Rais.
LP3M director Mukti Fajar said the encyclopedia was written with strong subjectivity, involving 16 writers and was edited by Ahmad Norma Permata. 'If someone says that this book is ideological propaganda they are correct. This book clarifies Muhammadiyah's ideology. This is Muhammadiyah,' he said.
Mukti added that the encyclopedia also came with 600 documentary photos that recorded the history and activities of the movement. The oldest photos depicted in the book were taken in 1919.
'These [pictures] are to enable readers to feel the spiritual nuance of that time so that they will also be able to understand every event according to its respective period,' Mukti said.
Also attending the book launch was Ahmad's grandson, Winai Dahlan, who is currently living in Thailand. Winai is the director of Chulalongkorn University's Halal Science Center.
Joining Winai were extended family members coming from both Thailand and California. Winai's father, Irfan Dahlan, was Ahmad's fifth child and resided in Thailand upon finishing his studies in Lahore, Pakistan.
Winai said his extended family members who reside in Thailand always wanted to know more about their forebear. 'This is hidayah [guidance]. You've already prepared three books for us to study to enable us understand the roots of my family,' said Winai, referring to the three-volume encyclopedia.
Separately Dahlan said that as a reference book the encyclopedia must contain no mistakes. 'It has to be accurately prepared. No mistake is allowed, including the spelling of names,' he said.