Jakarta June, 10, 2017 / Indonesia Media. They are called either ‘minorities among majorities’ or ‘majorities among minorities’ – Indonesian Chinese Muslims whose population grows year by year, but the figure is not too significant. They are still minorities in term of either race or nationality, namely Chinese in Indonesia. Oppositely, they are majorities in term of religion in Indonesia, namely Islam. So far, none can reveal the exact number of Indonesian Chinese Muslim population in Indonesia. But there is a hint of the number, yet it does not reveal exact figure, namely the frequent visit to Indonesian Chinese Lautze Mosque in Pasar Baru Central Jakarta. That would be a bit helpful to know the number of Chinese Muslims in Indonesia, and also the trend. “I can not predict how many Chinese Muslims in Indonesia. Guessing, there are more Muallaf (those who are newly converted Muslims). But the recent situation, (namely) Pilkada (Jakarta local election, 2017) has become a drawback for Chinese Muslims in Indonesia,” Mohammad Nur Hidayah, Indonesian Chinese Muslim said.
Hidayah, who used to be called ‘Benny’ is proud of becoming Muallaf. He knows the long history of Chinese Muslim in Indonesia. He referred to mariner Zheng He whose name has been easily associated with the name of a great mosque in Semarang. By tracing the history further, that Chinese Muslim traders from the eastern coast of China arrived at the coastal towns of Indonesia and Malaysia in the early 15th century. They were led by the mariner Zheng He, who commanded several expeditions to southeastern Asia between 1405 and 1430. In the book Yingya Shenglan, his translator Ma Huan documented the activities of the Chinese Muslims in the archipelago and the legacy left by Zheng He and his men. “The situation is different now. After Pilkada 2017 in which Ahok (former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama) was attacked by those people who actually have misled Islam, some (of Chinese Muslims) start to be doubtful (of liking Islam).”
Benny himself has just embraced Islam for five years. He started to like Islam after accompanying his Uncle who has become a pilgrim for many years. His uncle has a teacher, namely KH Hasyim Rashad Nahumaruli who chaired the great mosque preaching in Luar Batang area, North Jakarta. The mosque is neighboring to ‘China town’ of Jakarta, namely Glodok, Pluit, Muara Karang. “I often accompany my uncle for a prayer in the mosque. I listened the preachment after praying tentatively. Fortunately, I attended to circumcision since I was a kid. So I have no problem when I finally decided to embrace Islam for my religion. The situation is like Hidayah, which I found a guidance for my life. The guidance which is provided by Allah. I learn Islam deeper and deeper.”
Anyway, Benny finds that becoming Muallaf for some people come from various reasons and motivations. Some Indonesian Chinese fall in love with Muslim women which finally lead them to marriage. But one of them should become change his/her religion into Islam, required by Islamic Law. The two people who are to consent to the marriage of their own free wills, must attend Islamic legal contract. “That is a Must, that one of them start to embrace Islam. Otherwise the marriage will not be recognized by Islamic law,” said Benny.
Secondly, those who become Muallaf such as Hary Tanoesoedibjo, an Indonesian billionaire businessman to achieve success in politics. Hary who has prepared himself to run for presidential election (Pilpres) 2019, was rumored to become Muallaf. “He has ambition to become the coming Vice President. There are more Muallaf whose motives are merely about politics and business. Hary is not the only one, but more,” Benny said.
Thirdly, those who become Muallaf after seeing the real situation in Indonesia. When mingling with bureaucracy, either civil or military, becoming Muallaf may be a bit helpful. Some Chinese wish to become bureaucrat in governmental administration. Another fact is about Chinese lawyers who undertake various tasks litigation either in the court (formal) or on the street (informal). It is publicly known that experience when undertaking tasks such as dispute handling, bureaucracies implement both the law and politics simultaneously. “When lawyer need to fight in the court, (showing himself/herself as Muallaf) is a bit helpful to win cases. But I am not a type of those two categories. I always need to learn Islam more and deeper after I get Hidayah. I pray five times a day, and speak Arabic which I find in Holy Koran. I love Islam, and will always love (Islam) and the nation (namely) Indonesia,” he added. (SL/IM)