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ISLAMIC CHARITIES AND SOCIAL ACTIVISM: Welfare, Dakwah and Politics in Indonesia

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23 Oktober 2018 21:55 WIB
Dibaca: 309
Penulis : HilmanLatief

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Chapter 1

Introduction 1

Background 3

Charitable Practice and Institutionalised Forms of Indonesian Islam 12

The Notion of Benevolent Deeds and the Category of Beneficiaries 15

Research Focus and Methodology 18

Structure of the Dissertation 24


Chapter 2

Islamic Charities: Development, Movements and Networking 24

Introduction 28

Giving in Islam and Approaches to the Study of Charities 28

Islamic Forms of Giving as Religious and Social Practices 35

Islamic Charity 41

Philanthropy and Long-term Social Enterprises 43

Researching Islamic Charities: Resources, Actors and Institutions 43

Sources of Islamic Aid 45

Middle-Class Roles 48

Networking 52

Islamic Charities and their Embedded Values 52

Public Welfare 55

Missionary Activities and Religious Identity 60

Solidarity and Political Struggle 63

Conclusion 74


Chapter 3

Charities, the Public Good and Islamic Activism 74

Introduction 75

Indonesia: the Social, Political and Economic Setting 75

Islam and Socio-Political Change: 1940s-1960s 79

The Shift in the New Order’s Politics: 1980s-1990s 82

Crisis, Inequality and Islamic Capitalism 85

Intellectual Discourse and State Policies 85

Questions about Welfare and Justice 90

Relating Justice and Welfare to Philanthropic Themes 93

The Culture of Giving and State Policies 97

Social Mobility and the Muslim NGO Sector 97

Early Development of Faith-Based NGOs 102

The Zakat Sector and the Enrichment of Indonesia’s NGO World 105

Charitable Activism and the Expansion of Muslim NGOs 105

Conflict, Natural Disaster, and Relief Organisations 109

Domestic Charities and International Aid Agencies 113

New Alliances in International Relief Projects 115

Conclusion 129


Chapter 4

Health Provision for the Poor 129

Introduction 130

Islamic Charitable Clinics in Indonesia 132

Why the Rise of Charitable Clinics? 136

Charitable Clinics: Programmes, Actors and Beneficiaries 136

Dompet Dhu’afa (DD): Healthcare and Community Development 139

Rumah Zakat Indonesia (RZI): An Islamic Gathering Group with Social Concerns 141

RZI’s Health Services and Integrated Community Development 143

‘Health for All’: Clinic Membership and the Targeted Beneficiaries 143

Clinic Membership: Medical and Financial Reasons 147

Why Maternity Care and Nutrition? 150

How to Reach the Targeted Beneficiaries 151

Beyond Health Services: Religious and Economic Activities 151

Religious and Economic Enterprises 153

From the ‘Haves’ to the ‘Have-nots’ 154

Financing Islamic Charitable Clinics 160

The Muhammadiyah Hospitals: From Charitable to Commercial Enterprises162

The PKU Muhammadiyah: How Poorer Families Are Served164

The Aisyiyah’s Health Programmes 166

Conclusion 175


Chapter 5

Islamic Charities and the Protection of Underprivileged Women 175

Introduction 176

Poverty, Human Trafficking and the Women’s Movement 176

Poverty and Human Trafficking 179

NGOs’ Efforts to Protect Women from Exploitation 184

Dompet Dhu’afa: Relief and Development for Underprivileged Women 184

Micro-finance and Poor Relief: Domestic Projects 187

Assistance for Migrant Workers: Overseas Projects 191

Mutual Help, Solidarity and Religious Gatherings 194

The IMWU: a Movement NGO 196

Daarut Tauhid: Protecting Underprivileged Girls from Human Trafficking 199

Charity Activism, Dakwah and Women’s Issues 201

Why Infant Care Training? 203

Creating Islamic and Talented Infant Care Workers 206

Professionalism or Patron-Client Relations? 208

The Minimum Wage, Workload, and the Question of Empowerment 210

Conclusion 219


Chapter 6

Charities and Dakwah in the Outer Islands 219

Introduction 220

The Muslim Minority in Nias: Culture and Identity 221

Culture and Society in Nias 224

Desa mudik and the image of Muslim Communities 228

Al-Azhar Peduli (AAP): Reaching out to the Muallaf and Strengthening Dakwah 230

The Muallaf and Musholla in Botomuzoi 233

Madrasah and Mosque in Gunung Sitoli 235

Mujahid Dakwah: Muslim Missionaries and their Multiple Affiliations 238

DDII and the AMCF: Charitable Services, Dakwah and the Struggle for Development 242

Informal Networks and Charitable Work 244

The Primary School of the Muhammadiyah in Lahewa246

The Islamic Primary School of the NU in Bezihena 249

Madrasah and Mushalla as Public Facilities 251

‘Ashabul Kahfi’: The Pesantren Hidayatullah 255

FOSDAN (Forum Silaturahmi Da’i Nias) 256

Conclusion 263


Chapter 7

Internationalising Domestic Aid, Solidarity Movements and Political Struggle 263

Introduction 264

Islamic Solidarity and Humanitarianism 269

Indonesia’s responses to the Crises in Palestine and Afghanistan 270

The Government’s Ambiguous Stance 272

The Occupation of Palestine and Anti-Jewish and Anti-American Movements 274

The Occupation of Afghanistan and Anti-Soviet and Anti-American Movements 275

The Genesis: Islamic Solidarity Groups and Relief Missions, 1960s-1980s 276

Islamic Solidarity Groups: KSI and KISDI 278

Helping Muslim Brothers, Sending Jihad Volunteers: Underground Movements 280

New Actors: Islamic Solidarity and Relief Associations, 1990s-Present 282

New Islamic Solidarity Groups: KISPA and KNRP 286

An Interfaith Humanitarian Forum: the HFI 286

Relief NGOs: the PMI, MER-C, and BSMI 289

Information Asymmetry, Islamic Humanitarianism and Politics: Networks and Partnerships 291

The Complexity of Delivering Aid 193

Internationalising Domestic Aid: Minor Criticisms 295

Conclusion 306


Chapter 8

Conclusion: Envisioning a Development Perspective and the Public Good 306

How has Charitable Activism been Conceived in Muslim Societies? 310

Islamic Charitable Associations: Enriching Social Activism 316

Challenges and Opportunities in a Pluralistic Society 322

Trajectories in Ensuring the Social Security of Poor People 325

From Local Dynamics to the International Arena 330

Bibliography 348

List of Abbreviations 352

Glossary 355 









Charity is about giving, receiving, helping, granting, and the redistribution of wealth. People tend to associate the word ‘charity’ with the practice of assisting the poor, the way the wealthy share their fortunes, and other such good deeds. In many religious traditions, whether we are concerned with Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam, charitable action is considered as religiously meritorious and remains central to religiously-inspired social activism.1 In fact, the culture of giving’s long history has resulted in charitable foundations, established decades and even centuries ago, such as houses for the poor, orphanages, places of worship, hospitals, public kitchens, and religious schools. The practice of giving has also been preserved in the community, either as a form of religious expression or integrated as a daily customary norm. In short, the concept of ‘generosity’ and the doing of compassionate deeds are culturally contextual.2 The motives, reasons, legitimacy, and idioms utilised in the practice of giving can differ from one culture and another.


In recent times, while charitable activism has remained popular in Muslim societies, including Indonesia, the extent to which charity has been able to alleviate poverty has been heavily constrained by the complexity of the modern social, economic and political system of nation states, and in turn, the provision of means to benefit communities and the creation of the public good at large has also become increasingly complex. Due to this, several terms have been utilised at a discursive level, and various methods have been formulated and put into practice by different actors (such as intellectuals, social activists, and politicians) in order to attain social goals: that is, the welfare of the community. Alongside individual efforts to express piety in the social, economic and even political spheres in Indonesian Islam, there has been a significant institutional transformation of present-day charitable practices, as marked by the tremendous development of Islamic charities with their distinct roles.


One of the main issues that this study attempts to address is how Islamic charities function in modern nation states, and how Islamic forms of giving and notions of benevolent acts have been conceived by Indonesian Muslims in the post-colonial era. Investigating the relationship between Islam and welfare issues, this present study explores, contrasts, and compares the experiences of Islamic charitable organisations in Indonesia’s pluralistic society. In addressing this issue, actors undertaking charitable work, their religious affiliations, their beneficiaries at the grassroots level, approaches to problems and clients, sociological and political grounds for action, and interreligious, local, regional and transnational networks, will come under close scrutiny.


Researching charitable activism in Indonesia is interesting, partly because charitable services can be provided by different types of institutions, ranging from ‘secular’ to ‘religious’ associations, from community-based organisations to private companies or state-sponsored agencies, from dakwah institutions to politically-oriented associations, as well as from local or domestic charitable foundations to international aid organisations. All of these types of organisations have operated in Indonesia and play multiple roles in strengthening civil society at large. In a nutshell, as a result of the actions of Islamic charities, institutionalised forms of Islamic faith have become increasingly visible in public life.



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