Sabtu, 05 Januari 2008

The Essence and Existence of Islamic Culture in Facing the Challenge of Modernism and Postmodernism

Since the globalization of world politics became state ideology accepted by most of nation-states in the world, there are so many things from foreign countries came to our country, Indonesia. Now, there are cars from Italy we can buy here, there are American foods we can have at the nearest restaurant or café. It is easy for us to enjoy foreign products.

But actually they don’t come here by themselves. They come with the cultures of the countries where the products are made. The Italy car comes with the cultures of Italy. The American food comes with the cultures of America. The more foreign products we have here, the more foreign cultures penetrate our lives.

Okay, to make them obvious, let me explain to you the most appearent foreign cultures in Indonesia and in this world at large.

First, modernism culture. In a book titled Islam and Modernism that is acknowledged by several intellectual Moslems of Oxford University, modernism is a process of following western social system, especially democracy.

In democracy, we have freedom of speech. We can express our ideas bringing forward our arguments for every affairs, by the government or nongovernment organization. For instance, when our president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, made a decision to agree with the United Nations resolution on rejecting the Iran nuclear project, we the people of Indonesia can denounce that decision or even reject it, it is free.

In addition because of wide freedom of speech, by which the people can express their ideas, there is a high development of thought and knowledge. For instance, in European and America countries, where democracy is the political system, thought and knowledge develop as we can see now. In the field of technology, Europe and America are the largest areas where technology develop[p well. In term of knowledge, Europe and America are the ideal places for most of students around the world.

However, there is something we have to learn together as modernism comes to us. The fact is we don’t have development of thought and knowledge. What we are having is westernization. When we claim ourselves to be modern, what happen with us is we tend to follow the lifestyle of west. We feel cool if we have McDonnald, have fun at PUB, hang out at mall, and do what the television shows us to do.

Okay, to make us more understand, let me talk more about westernization or something that we call “cool”. First, there is postmodernism culture of every goods and lifestyle from west made by capitalism. What is postmodernism? In the field of art, there is no clear definition of postmodernism, instead, we have so many definitions of that terminology. It is not obvious wether postmodernism is the continuity of modernism, the revolution of modernism, or even the collapse of it. Regardless the definition, there is something we have to be cautious of, it’s imagology. Imagology is a term of capitalism that describe one situation where image is more important than value or function. For instance, we prefer to eat at McDonnald than at traditional food stores like warteg because we feel cooler at McDonnald. It is not because McDonnald make us healthy while warteg does not. It is because of the image, it’s because of our feeling of being cool. And when the situation like this spreads in our environment, we tend to follow all the thing come from West like lifestyle, hairstyle, and so many other cultures that are potential to degenerate morality.

Besides imagology, there is cybercultures in postmodernism. In this modern era, we can apply internet as we want. We can buy note book from United States while we are here, we can stay informed the situation of France, we can send a e-mail to our brothers and friends at Europe and chat with them. But all that cause us lazzy to talk directly. We are lazzy to visit our brothers because we can do that via internet. And it’s the culture of internet, cybercultures.

After explaining the cultures above, so let’s talk about Islamic culture, that it is our crucial topic now. But before talking about Islamic culture, we have to distinguish first between the cultures come from eastern countries and the cultures of Islam. It’s not all cultures of Arabic is Islamic culture. Arabic clothes doesn’t mean Islamic clothes that we are obligated to follow, but Islamic clothes is all polite clothes, wether Middle East clothes or Europe clothes. Even in sholat, we use sheath. It doesn’t come from east, it come from Hindu culture. Thus we can conclude that Islamic culture isn’t about a physical form, but it is more to the value of goodness.

In capitalism, we recognize imagology. As I have said before, it is situation where image is more important than meaning. How about Islamic culture? If in capitalism we are undirectly forced to use something because of image, in Islam, we are encouraged to use something beautiful so that it can increase our image. So, are islam and capitalism alike? No way! The ideology of capitalism is form follows fun. So we use something acoording to our desire of fun, so that it can increase our image. While the ideology of Islam is based on what our prophet said:

Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty”.

We use something beautiful because Allah loves that. So we can call it in the semiotic language as form follows Allah’s love. Because of different purposes, tha capitalism desire fun while Islam desire Allah’s love, the beautifulness between Islam and capitalism are different also. The capitalism tends to the luxuriousity, extravagance, and amorality, while Islam tends to the usefulness, simplicity, and morality.

In postmodernism also we have cybercultures. As I have said before, it is a situation in which people tend to do all the thing via internet. In one side, it looks very wonderful. But in an other side, it makes something that we never realize. When everyone tends to do something via internet, they absorb a culture of internet, cybercultures. They become lazzy to meet each other, to visit their brothers, to go outside and consider people around them. They become very selfish. And when the situation like this spreads in our country, something called the death of social occurred.

How about Islamic culture? To compare between Islamic culture and cyberculture, let’s consider what Allah said at chapter Al-Hujurat verse 6:

”The believers are nothing else than brothers. So, make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy”.

The verse above is full of social values. It confirm the brotherhood of every Moslems and order to strenghthen that. The concept of the verse is implemented in the Moslem’s life. Every Moslems are encouraged to go to the mosque in every prayer times. Beside prayer, they can meet each others, share their problems, tell some stories, and strenghthen their brotherhood. Every Moslems also are encouraged to perform charity, so they have a feeling of social care. And now we have one question, are technology tolls like internet and car from west forbidden in Islam? The answer is NO. islam never forbid technology. The forbidden thing in Islam is the cultures of the product. Ialam permits us to use internet, but forbids to act in the cyberculture manner. Islam permits modernization, but forbid immorality.

Okay, I think that’s enough to compare between Islamic cultures and other cultures in this era. I believe, we agree to say that Islamic culture is the best of all. But why doesn’t Islamic culture appear like other culture, like modernism, like postmodernism, and like cyberculture? Because we, the Moslems, prefer oter cultures than Islamic cultures. We forget Islamic culture!

Muhammad Iqbal once said:

“The weak culture follows the strong culture”.

The existence of Islamic culture today is very weak. While the existence of other cultures are very strong. And it is our duty to make appear so that it can followed by every people in this world and make the world better.

2 komentar:

Anonim mengatakan...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

Anonim mengatakan...

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