|Doctrines|| ||Muhammadiyah affirms the central doctrines of mainstream Sunni Islam. However, as a reformist socioreligious movement it seeks to heighten people's sense of moral responsibility, and to purify the faith of what it regards as outdated traditions or corruptions of true Islam. To this end it emphasises the authority of the qur'an and sunnah as supremely normative, and as the sole legitimate basis for the interpretation and development of religious belief and practice, in contrast to the authority traditionally invested in the schools of religious law (shariah) as practised by the legists (ulama). It further opposes the effects of syncretism, where Islam in Indonesia has coalesced both with animism/spirit worship amongst the villagers and with Hindu-Buddhist values of the pre-Islamic period persisting among the upper classes; and it opposes the traditions of the Sufi brotherhoods for allowing the authority of a Sufi leader (shaykh) to challenge or indeed eclipse the authority of Muhammad and even, perhaps, of God himself. The Sufis are further criticised for promoting attitudes of otherworldliness that have no proper basis in the Qur'an and sunnah, and do not match the needs of modern day society; and cults associated with the tombs of Sufi saints have also been a focus of criticism.|
|History|| ||The Muhammadiyah (followers of Muhammad) was founded in Jogjakarta, Java, on 18 November 1912 by Ahmad Dahlan (age 44), a devout Muslim educated for several years in Mecca, where he had been much affected by the writings of the Egyptian reformist Muhammad 'Abduh. 'Abduh advocated the purification of Islamic thought and practice, the defence of Islam against its critics, and the promotion of these aims through a modernised system of Islamic education. These ideas gained support among a minority of Muslims in Indonesia as elsewhere, but the movement founded by Kiyai (teacher) Haji (pilgrimage to Mecca) Dahlan was to become their most important expression.|
The Muhammadiyah refrained from political involvement, and took advantage of the toleration it thus enjoyed, both under the Dutch and under the post-independence governments, to develop from modest beginnings (Dahlan began with just twelve followers) into a stable, financially sound organisation actively pursuing a range of socioreligious activities, partly in conscious emulation of Christian missionary organizations. It advocated 'new ijtihad' - individual interpretation of Qur'an and sunnah, as opposed to 'taqlid' - the acceptance of the traditional interpretations propounded by the ulama.
Dahlan devoted the remainder of his life to the Muhammadiyah cause, until his death in 1923, but his personal example continues to inspire his followers; from his official Muhammadiyah biography and from informal anecdotes alike he emerges as an energetic, effective, modest figure worthy of respect and emulation.
The organisation's committee structure reflects its spheres of activity, and these include, notably: ethics and Islamic law, women's affairs, youth organization, education, evangelism and religious festivals, social welfare and health care, organisational finances and administration of property.
The Muhammadiyah has established an impressive record in education, with its own system parallelling that of the state from infant school level right up to its own university. At the same time, it maintains two types of institution, one more secular (and coeducational), the other more religious (and segregated according to sex). Inthe latter, the emphasis is less on traditional exegesis of classical texts, and more on key moral teachings of Islam. The overarching aim is to provide an education that is both modern and truly Islamic. Other achievements include the establishment of clinics, hospitals, orphanages, factories and cottage industries, and a range of publications.
A woman's organisation was started in 1914. Named the Aisiyah (after an influential wife of the Prophet) it has built women's mosques (allegedly unique to Indonesia), kindergartens, and women's Islamic schools, encouraging women to be active agents of the spread of Islam among other women; and giving them a dynamic public role, while at the same time emphasising modesty - but not uniformity - of dress. A youth movement, Hisbul Wathan, has some similarities to the Boy Scouts, albeit with a more pronounced religious orientation.
|Symbols|| ||The Muhammadiyah has its own flag and logo.|
|Adherents|| ||At the time of Dahlan's death in 1923, the organisation reported a membership of 2622 men and 724 women, mostly residents of Jogjakarta (Peacock 1978, 45). Numbers grew steadily - 10,000 in 1928, 17,000 in 1929, and 24,000 in 1931 (Israeli 1982, 191). By the 1930s, moreover, it had begun to establish branches beyon Java, the main centre of population, throughout Indonesia, and today it is said to be the second largest Islamic organization in Indonesia (just behind its rival Nahdatul Ulama) with 29 million members (Europa Publications Limited I, ). The membership is largely urban and middle class in composition.|
| ||The national headquarters is in Jogjakarta. However, by 1970 the committee dealing with areas such as education, economics, health and social welfare had been relocated in the national capital, Djakarta, alongside their secular government counterparts. |