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This article investigates the extent of state intervention in the administration of Islam in Indonesia. The 1945 Constitution of Indonesia does not explicitly recognize or privilege any particular religion. Yet, the boundaries of religion-state relations in the country are often unclear and complex, especially in light of policies and laws that regulate religious life and appear to privilege the dominant religion and its adherents. In this article, I demonstrate the ways in which the state has increasingly interfered in the administration of Islam in Indonesia by focusing on two case studies: the management of Hajj and zakat. However, it is observed that the vague constitutional arrangements on religion in Indonesia provide avenues for interpretations (especially by the Ministry of Religious Affairs) that the state has a constitutional obligation to interfere in the administration of religion and implement religious doctrines; and in the case of Islam, to ‘bureaucratize’ the shariah. This further complicates the exercise of distinguishing between religious doctrines that require state intervention for implementation and those that do not.
This article examines the history of the evolution of Islamic legal authority in Indonesia and provides an account of how it is contested and negotiated in contemporary Indonesia, using the history of family law reform as an example. There is a plurality of sources of authority for Islamic law as they operate within the domain of family law. The case studies reveal tensions between continuity and change in the development of Islamic legal principles and the strategies that different actors employ to advance their preferred version of Islamic legal norms: while the state has adopted a synthetic approach in order to accommodate these multiple legal authorities and increase the efficacy of its own statutes, the ulama persistently insist on the authority of fiqh as the immutable point of reference in resolving legal problems faced by Muslims. These conflicts ensure that the statutes will continue facing challenges as a legitimate interpretation of Islamic law in Indonesia.
Although Indonesia has acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and freedom of religion is a mandate of the 1945 Constitution, there is a significant difference between the promise and the practice of religious liberty, especially regarding the rights of sects in Indonesia. The article explores this theme in the context of the Congregation of Ahmadiyah Indonesia, a minority Islamic sect which is not considered as an agama, or official religion, as a case study. This designation has had various discriminatory effects on its adherents, which waters down significantly the guarantee of religious freedom in Indonesia.
Contemporary conflicts over efforts to expand the role of Islamic law in the national legal system of Indonesia are so intense that they undermine reasoned public debate about this question. They are part of a long-standing polemic, not only about the role of Shariah in Indonesia generally but about the specific question of whether the Jakarta Charter, which references obligations to obey Islamic law, should be restored as part of the Constitution. This article is an attempt to revive the neglected academic discourse on the role of Islamic jurisprudence in Indonesian law, and to move beyond the confused polemics to a thoughtful consideration of where Islamic law fits in a non-Islamic state such as Indonesia. Because Indonesia is a secular state, the Shariah as a whole is not enforced by the state, but the Shariah has a significant meaning for Muslims in Indonesia because it provides the norms distinguishing the obligatory and recommended from those actions which are neutral, disapproved and prohibited in Muslims' lives. Moreover, some elements of Islamic jurisprudence in personal law have been absorbed into positive law in Indonesia through the decisions of religious courts, which have existed since the Dutch colonialism,3 as currently regulated by Law No. 7/1989. The Compilation of Islamic Law No. 1/1991 essentially functions as the legal code for all Muslims who must resort to the religious courts for the adjudication of disputes involving marriage, divorce, inheritance and waqf. Thus, consideration of the propriety of attempts to extend Islamic law to matters of property and of contract is appropriate at this time.
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