MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA— According to a sociologist of religion from Georgetown University, Jose Casanova, in the modern and postmodern era, religious communities have experienced privatization in religion. Fatwas including religious aspects were declared by certain authorities, but the authority is now disregarded.
A member of Division of Fatwa and Guidance Development of the Muhammadiyah Council for Tarjih and Tajdid Wawan Gunawan Abdul Wahid explained that it took years for people to be called ustadz, ajengen, or kiai (Indonesian terms to call Muslim clerics) or to issue a fatwa. However, now everyone can suddenly becomes the clerics.
“People currently can become religious preachers by browsing on the internet and learning it. Then, they becomes viral,” he stated at the Ramadan preaching conducted by the Muhammadiyah Regional Board of Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta on Friday (23/4).
Another phenomenon occurring in this era is the loss of expertise as Tom Nichols called “the death of expertise.” People now become experts, including religious experts. Wawan argued the positive impact is that Muslims can learn religion autonomously, but the negative one is that they cannot meet standards of the religious teachings.
“Even though people with intelligence can do that, but they need others to learn. For instance, a brilliant person, Imam Muhammad bi Idris As Syafi’i needed Imam Malik,” he added.
A phenomenon of superficial understanding of religion has led to biases such as a statement during the COVID-19 pandemic that “a Muslim must fear Allah more than a virus”. Wawan Gunawan emphasized that the emergence of this view was due to banal understanding of religion and lack of understanding of the essence of religion.
It’s true that fear of Allah is a must for Muslims, but performing religious orders should consider safety. Wawan asserted that hifdzu din (maintaining religion) is as important and compulsory as hifdzun nafs (keeping the souls or maintaining rights of human life).
Muslims should always enhance their knowledge and appreciate diversity because ne of the meanings of Islam is as sulam, ladder. Meanwhile, to confront the disruption era and the pandemic, Wawa encourages all Muslims to remain dynamic and use Islamic views which are tawasuth, moderate, and progressive.