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Arbia', 13 Safar 1443 (Tuesday, Septtember 21st, 2021)
Malay Islamic Politic (Study of Raja Ali Haji 1808 - 1873)

Title of Thesis             : Malay Islamic Politic (Study of Raja Ali Haji 1808 - 1873)
Writer                         : Faishal Shadik
Study Program           : Islamic Law
Field of Study             : Study of Politic and Government in Islam
University                   : State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga  Yogyakarta

Islamic politic in Indonesia is related to the political thoughts of the Moslem theologians from Middle East. Their works, in fact, quite often become the main references for the Islamic political thinkers in this country. Meanwhile, the thoughts of the Malay Moslem theologians almost never become references in the literature work of Indonesian Islamic political thinkers. Therefore, a thesis titled “Malay Islamic Politic (Study of Raja Ali Haji 1808-1873)” tries to describe clearly the Islamic political thoughts in Indonesia which were first revealed by a Malay figure, Raja Ali Haji, in his literature, Tsamarat al-Muhimmah Difayah li al-Umara wa al-Kubara wa li ahl al-Mahkamah and Muqqadimah fi Intidzam.

Raja Ali Haji was a Moslem theologian who mastered not only religion, but also politic, state administration, history, law, literature, and languages. His ideas were characterized by Islamic law and also Malay tradition. His literacy work is even considered important in his era (19th century); he became one of the prominent figures in his era among the spiritual leaders, intellectuals, aristocrats, and scholars.

Raja Ali Haji, through his literacy work, Tsamarat al-Muhimmah Difayah li al-Umara wa al-Kubara wa li ahl al-Mahkamah, clearly states that a king who do not carry out his duty and betrays Allah, could not be accepted as the ruler, and his position should be given to the appropriate person. Raja Ali Haji’s opinion is slightly influenced by Imam al-Ghazali. It can be seen in his work which mostly mentions Imam al-Ghazali’s book, Ihya Ulum ad-Din. The influence of al-Ghazali is clearly seen on how Raja Ali Haji describes an ideal king who should be able to control himself of worldly pleasure and emphasize his priority to the problems of his people.

Besides, Raja Ali Haji’s political ideas are also influenced by Moslem theologians, such as Ibnu Taimiyah and Abu al-Hasan Ali bin Muhammad Habib al-Mawardi. The influence of al-Mawardi’s thoughts is clearly seen from Raja Ali Haji’s statement explained that it is better if a country is led by a tyrannical king for sixty years rather than one night without a king. It is explained in his literacy work, “... that a king in a country is a soul in a body; so, if the soul separates from the body, the body will then die” (Raja Ali Haji, 1887: 65).

According to Faisal, Raja Ali Haji’s explanation about politic which is included in Raja Ali Haji’s book, “Tsamarat al-Muhimmah” shows the similar thought of Raja Ali Haji in Imam al-Ghazali’s literacy work “Nasihat al-Mulk”. Both consider the functions of a country and the main obligation of the society are to create an atmosphere which supports the implementation of religion, so everyone is able to conduct his spiritual duties in order to prepare for doomsday.

His another literacy work, Muqaddimah fi Intidzam, Raja Ali Haji wishes a monarchy government which put the power on a king who always emphasizes his priority to appease his people. An ideal king, in his opinion, should have knowledge and skills which could be used to differ what is right and what is wrong, so that each of his deeds could be a model for all of his people. It means Raja Ali Haji wishes an ideal monarchy government which is based on Islamic law. In addition, Raja Ali Haji’s ideal government can be categorized as a “theo-monarchy” government, a monarchy government which is based on Islamic law.

Raja Ali Haji realizes that in Islamic point of view, God has a central position in every form and manifestation of ideas. God is the source of truth, and the truth comes only from God. Meanwhile, something considered as a truth needs to be measured with God’s standard of truth which is included in Islamic law. By then, the king’s role is very important and dominant to settle Islamic law in this earth because it is only a wise king who is able to interpret Islamic law for the need of his people, so they can live better.

Besides, Raja Ali Haji also emphasizes the importance of harmonious relationship between a king and his people by stating, “common people look like roots, while the king looks like a tree. If root doesn’t exist, tree will not stand” (Raja Ali Haji, 1887: 186). Therefore, to be an ideal king, one needs to fulfill certain requirements. A king should be first a Moslem; second, religious; third, free; fourth, fair; fifth, a man who had good intentions; sixth, good in speaking; seventh, good hearing; eighth, good sight; ninth, brave ; tenth, diligent, not lazy in handling his governmental problems. By this requirements, a powerful king is expected to be able in carrying out and reaching prosperity for his people. In other words, Raja Ali Haji expects a perfect king, physically and spiritually, for the peaceful and prosperous of his people.

Raja Ali Hali’s political thoughts mentioned above, according to Faishal Shadik, was formed by several factors, not only religion, environment, but also social condition. Some of the social condition were first the influence of Islam for Raja Ali Haji; second, the domination of Dutch in Riau-Lingga; third, the internal conflicts evolved by the dualistic government (Sultan and Yang Dipertuan Muda which were held by Malay Bugis aristocrats); fourth, the anxiety of Penyengat Islamic society toward westernization happened in Singapore because the close relation between them.

By then, the Islamic political concept revealed by Raja Ali Haji in the era of 1860s is an intellectual asset of our nation which should be developed for more impartial, peaceful, and prosperous society. In the history of the Malay political thought, the influence of the Moslem theologians from Middle East played an important role; it was started by Raja Ali Haji in Penyengat Island. A figure like Raja Ali Haji was touched by the political development at that time, so he tried to remind the Malay people by writing literacy work. The political condition at that time required Raja Ali Haji to speak his opinion up in order to set the Malay areas free of Dutch colonization. Nowadays, Raja Ali Haji is one of the best sons of the nation awarded with a title “hero”, not because of his heroism in fighting against the colonization in the battle field, but because of his writings which give valuable contributions to Indonesia.          


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