Indonesian Islam and Nahdlatul Ulama without Camouflage

Robert Small's AT essay on the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Indonesian Islam reads more like a "Just So Story" than a "True Story." As per article 2 of the founding NU Statutes of 1926, the goal of this association was: To uphold one of the schools of (Islamic) law of the four Imams Imam Muhammad bin Idris As-Shafi, Imam Malik bin Anas, Imam Abu Hanifa or Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal -- and to do everything beneficial to Islam. A 1952 "update" of these founding principles reiterated these goals: To uphold the law of Islam, in accordance with one of the four schools of law: Shafii, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali[.] To bring about the application of the precepts of Islam in society[.] The contemporary Netherlands scholar of Indonesian Islam, J. Boland, in his 1971 "The Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia," aptly summarized the implications of the NU's founding principles, adding the NU's own self-characterization: Over against the modernists (ahli bidah), they (i.e., the NU) liked...(Read Full Post)