Millenarianism, Fundamentalism and Radicalism: Some Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks in Studying Syiah in Indonesia

M. Akmal, Al Chaidar, Apridar Abdurrahman Puteh, T.M. Jamil


This paper will be mainly focused on ideology formation within the circle of radical and fundamentalist movement of Darul Islam. One of the most helpful and accurate terms to emerge in recent years is that of ‘Islamism’. Islamists, or those who hold to Islamism believe that Islam can and should form the basis of political ideology. Handled with sensitivity, the term ‘Islamism’ is one that both ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ can relate to with a reasonable degree of common understanding.  Which is considerably more than can be said of terms like ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘radicalism’, both of which can be profoundly ambiguous. If Islamists find in Islam something of a blueprint for political engagement, non-Islamist Muslims find nothing more specific than values and principles. A significant minority, however, find in these core values of Islam a counter-argument to Islamism. They argue that not only should Islam be first and foremost a personal faith, it should also accept and respect differences of opinion, commitment and practise. They embrace terms such as ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ fully aware of connotations of these terms in post-enlightenment western thought. Where Islamists tend, to varying degrees, to problematise the relationship between Islam and western conceptions of modernity, liberal Islamic intellectuals find an essential congruity between western Judeo-Christian thought and Islam. Liberals are comfortable in articulating their political vision in terms of western concepts such as democracy, human rights, modernisation and the separation of ‘church’ (religion) and state.

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