Today, 48 years ago the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) was established, on July 26, 1975 to be precise. The idea of forming the MUI arose during a meeting of Muslim scholars throughout Indonesia in Jakarta on September 30-October 4, 1970.
Quoted from the book Memahami Hamka: The Untold Stories by Haidar Musyafa, the idea of forming an assembly immediately received approval from KH Muhammad Dahlan, the minister of religion at that time.
KH. Dahlan said that the establishment of the Ulema Council was a must. This is because the clergy have a significant role in nation building, especially in building inter-religious harmony in Indonesia.
The Department of Religion and Government at that time trusted Buya Hamka to lead the MUI. The decision of the great cleric whose real name is Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah to become chairman of the MUI also received the blessing of President Soeharto.
Buya Hamka’s inauguration as Chairman of the MUI was held at the Sasana Langen Budaya Building, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) Complex, Jakarta on July 27, 1975. In his first speech as chairman of the MUI, Hamka likened the position of the Ulema Council to the government and the people as a bika cake.
“Fire burns the cake from above and below. The fire from above is like the government’s hopes, while the fire from below is the grievances of Muslims.” he said.
Hamka said this parable because he realized that his duties as head of the MUI were very difficult, because he had to be a good liaison between believers and government policies.
The election of Hamka as chairman of the MUI received much criticism from some scholars who did not agree with him. They think the position as chairman of the MUI is just a trick by the government to make Hamka a toy doll.
The government only takes advantage of Hamka’s fame to seek profit and influence from Muslims in Indonesia. Rusydi Hamka in his book, Pribadi dan Martabat Buya Hamka, stated that Hamka tries to face criticism of him calmly.
To those who said Hamka was only being used as a puppet by the government, he said that if he accepted the position solely for the betterment of Muslims in Indonesia. Also to face the communist ideology which, even though it had been completely crushed by the New Order government, still has a chance to rise again in Indonesia.
At the MUI National Conference at the end of May 1980, the great scholar who was determined to defend Islam was again asked to become chairman of the MUI for the next term. The reason was that MUI did not see any other candidate worthy of leadership besides Hamka. If Hamka refuses, then the consequences will get worse.
On May 21, 1981, the great scholar who was born in Maninjau, February 17, 1908 resigned from his post as chairman of the MUI. The reason is so that the problem of leaking fatwas regarding attending Christmas celebrations does not drag on and does not divide religious communities.
Hamka’s decision became big news in the country. Many people regretted Hamka’s resignation, although not a few expressed their appreciation. Thank you also came from President Soeharto because Hamka had taken the path of prioritizing the harmony and unity of the people and nation rather than himself.
Chairman of the MUI from Time to Time
• 1977 – 1981 Prof. Dr. Hamka
• 1981 – 1983 KH. Shukri Ghozali
• 1985 – 1998 KH. Hassan Basri
• 1998 – 2000 Prof. KH. Ali Yafie
• 2000 – 2014 KH. M. Sahal Mahfudz
• 2014 – 2015 Prof. Dr. HM. Din Shamsuddin
• 2015 – 2020 Prof. Dr. KH. Ma`ruf Amin
• 2020 – 2022 KH. Miftachul Akhyar. (T/RE1/P2)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)