The reception for the first century of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has just been held (7/2/2023) at Gelora Delta Sidoarjo, East Java. Interestingly, NU reaffirmed to the world that it firmly and loudly rejects the Islamic caliphate. This affirmation is certainly after going through some in-depth studies by previously holding an international conference on the fiqh of civilization, which presented many first-class scholars from around the world.
This is not new to NU because NU has long expressed a firm stance on the relationship between religion and the state. NU's view on the relationship between religion and form is complex and is thought to follow the actual teachings of Islam. NU views that religion and the state must coordinate and cooperate in achieving common goals, such as justice, security, welfare, and prosperity for society.
According to NU, religion is vital in shaping the values and norms that will form the basis for developing state law and governance. Meanwhile, the state is responsible for ensuring that its laws and governance system are in accordance with the values and norms prescribed by religion.
NU also views that religion should not be separated from daily life and should be integral to every aspect of life, including government and law formation. Therefore, NU invites Muslims to ensure that the government and existing laws are based on Islamic teachings and do not contradict religious values.
NU also understands that it is impossible to establish a perfect Islamic state, but this should not be a reason to abandon efforts to ensure that the government and laws are based on Islamic teachings. NU invites Muslims to continue improving the government and legal system and ensuring that the government and direction are based on Islamic values and teachings.
Thus, NU's view of the relationship between religion and state emphasizes the synergy between the two in achieving common goals and ensuring that the government and laws are under Islamic teachings.
Nahdlatul Ulama believes that the old vision rooted in the classical fiqh tradition, which is to unite all Muslims under a single supervision (such as the Khilafah), should be replaced with a new vision that is more modern and follows the times. The aim is to achieve the benefit of the ummah more effectively and realistically. The old idea, which focused on the existence of a single Khilafah, is no longer seen as the best solution to the problems facing Muslims today. Therefore, a new vision is needed to realize the benefit of the ummah in a way that aligns with current conditions and situations.
The hope of restarting the caliphate empire, which is believed to be able to unite all Muslims, is not feasible to implement and use as the primary target in interactions with non-Muslim communities.
As recently evidenced, attempts to establish an IS state will end in chaos and contradict the primary objectives of religion, which are reflected in the five principles of protecting the soul, protecting religion, protecting the mind, protecting the family, and protecting property.
Attempts to re-establish the Khilafah state would be contrary to the primary objectives of the religion. Evidently, such an endeavor would be destabilizing and affect social and political order. Furthermore, if such an endeavor were to succeed, it would have the negative impact of collapsing the state system and fueling violent conflicts that affect most regions of the world.
According to Nahdlatul Ulama, the best and most effective way to realize goodness for Muslims worldwide is to strengthen the welfare and integrity of all human beings, including Muslims and non-Muslims. Nahdlatul Ulama emphasizes the importance of recognizing the brotherhood of all human beings as children of Adam.
History proves that the chaos caused by war is usually accompanied by massive destruction of places of worship, loss of human life, erosion of morals, and destruction of families and property. Therefore, Nahdlatul Ulama considers that the best way to achieve this goal is to strengthen the welfare and benefit of all human beings, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.
Although imperfect, the United Nations and its Charter are still recognized as attempts to address the problems inherent in international relations. The UN Charter was drafted to end the wars and barbarism that have occurred frequently throughout human history. Therefore, the UN Charter and the UN can be used as a strong and available basis for developing a new fiqh to build a peaceful and harmonious future for human civilization.
In Nahdlatul Ulama's view, choosing an alternative path is better than attempting to create a single state for all Muslims worldwide, the Khilafah state. They prefer to invite Muslims to take on a new vision and develop a unique view of fiqh that can help prevent the exploitation of identity, avoid the spread of inter-group hatred, promote solidarity, and respect differences between individuals, cultures, and nations of the world. Such a vision, in turn, can help realize the central goals of Sharia, such as a just and harmonious world order based on respect for the equal rights and dignity of all human beings.
In a nutshell, NU's view emphasizes the importance of cooperation and synergy between religion and the state in achieving common goals such as justice, security, welfare, and prosperity for society. This reflects a strong sense of Indonesianness, as NU is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, and their perspective on the role of religion and state aligns with the values of Pancasila, the philosophical foundation of Indonesia.
Moreover, NU's emphasis on the welfare and integrity of all human beings, regardless of their religion, aligns with the values of humanity and unity. NU believes that the chaos caused by war can lead to the destruction of places of worship, the loss of human life, the erosion of morals, and the destruction of families and property. Therefore, NU promotes a vision of fiqh that can help prevent the exploitation of identity, avoid the spread of inter-group hatred, promote solidarity, and respect differences between individuals, cultures, and nations of the world.
In terms of justice, NU believes that religion plays a vital role in shaping the values and norms that will form the basis for developing state law and governance. The state, in turn, is responsible for ensuring that its laws and governance system are in accordance with the values and norms prescribed by religion. NU invites Muslims to ensure that the government and existing laws are based on Islamic teachings and do not contradict religious values. This reflects NU's commitment to achieving a just and harmonious world order based on respect for the equal rights and dignity of all human beings