(English) Why Condemning ISIS is Not Enough?

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria  (ISIS) has unified most muslim around the world. By showing  its horrible method in killing its detainee, ISIS make muslim  so wrath. From ordinary muslim to conservative ones say the same voice “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam”.  Frankly,  Even the radical ones like Jemaat Islamiyah (JI), the well-known terrorist organization in our country, campaign against ISIS.

Yet, Is it true that ISIS has nothing to do with islam? and what does it means “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam” for conservative or the other  radical islamist? Let’s review a bit about how muslim in our country see “ISIS”

firsty before I clarify my question above it is important to classify the muslim’s voice opposing ISIS into some groups.  Indeed, the classification itself doesn’t reflect the true realities of muslim society around the world in which have so many different reasons against ISIS. So that we may argue my own classification for  generalizing muslim’s stance against ISIS.


The first one is those who simply say “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam”. Some weeks ago, my friend who is a human rights activist strongly opposed my arguments about the relation between ISIS and Islam. It was due to  on my facebook account, I wrote we can’t say simply that ISIS doesn’t reflect Islam. Of course,  my friend is in a good stance. But, can we simplify shout like my friend did who said “ISIS has nothing to do with islam”?

Honestly speaking, to say that “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam” is not that simple. The relation between these two entities are much complicated than what my human rights activist friend think.  At least, I have strong reasons to say this. The reasons come from, Islamic scripture  that each muslim can’t ignore, The Koran.

Although Koran has arguments for advancing human’s civilizations, yet also there is “the dark side” of it.  If you read Koran literally (I emphasize the word literally), you may find what I mean “dark side”.  For instance, some verses in the Koran obviously tend to legalize slavery. The Koran also clearly spoke for polygamy and even sex slavery. Moreover, it firmly supports for stoning the doers of adultery. Those “dark side” of the Koran we can look at what ISIS has done so far.

The second group contains people who oppose ISIS strongly as a lunatic group nonetheless, in fact they agree on ISIS’s ideas.   What does it mean?  Well, I get you a clue. JI (Jemaat Islamiyah) which is a terrorist group in our country that has a connection with Alqaeda, todays is very wrath of what ISIS has done. JI argued that ISIS doesn’t represent Islam at all. Whereas JI agree on ISIS’s  “terms” like killing the apostates, slaughtering ahmadiyah and so on.

Moreover Board of Indonesian’s ulema  (MUI) condemn ISIS.  But, as we may know MUI is the main supporter when it comes to implementing sharia law in every province.  Well, the result of implementing sharia law in Aceh for short has a bad impact on women’s rights.  Recently, the board is formulating a fatwa proposing death penalty for LGBT.

Last but not least,  if you look at political actors you’ll see there is an ambiguous position from Islamic party. Justice and Welfare Party (PKS)  in so many chances never declare explicitly that they oppose ISIS. Even, the president of the party said the respond of publics towards the ISIS is “too much”. in the past, Anis Matta was criticized by a lot of people for his defend towards Osama Bin Laden.

So what’s the point? The second group may hate ISIS. However, they agree on ISIS’s ideas. ISIS is the actor of what they justify so far. Simply because they don’t have enough power to do such mayhem that ISIS has done so far. Indeed, they’re on the same page.

Then, is there any groups in islam that truly oppose ISIS? Of course there are.

Well, I may call them the enlightened muslim.  Surprisingly,  this group mainly construct their ideas against ISIS from the same source like conservative does, The Koran. They are not apologetics ones. Those people realize there are problematic issues in the Koran that may be usable for doing such mayhem. But they know exactly to read the Koran literally is not the only game in town.

Most of the enlightened muslim is educated in pesantren. They can read classic  islam literature. Amazingly, they can develop our understanding to read Koran in order to be in line with the spirit of the age.


Let me mention two people of them, K.H. Hussein Muhammad and Guntur Romli.  K.H. Hussein Muhammad said, the Koran is a maximal compromise between the idea of the true islam with social reality when the prophet lived.  So that, in particular issues, the Koran cannot deliver its means explicitly. For instance, in the Koran there is limit for polygamy. A man can only marry 4 women. Whereas, before islam had come, a man could marry any number of women as long as he wants. The spirit of Koran, Hussein said, was to prevent polygamy. However, It was impossible to forbid polygamy at that time.

Yet, there was progress. According to him, the spirit of islam cannot be stopped at the age of the prophet. Human should rejuvenate islam.

Guntur Romli emphasized such issues like polygamy and slavery which are written in Koran should be re-interpreted according to the spirit of the age. Of course slavery, polygamy, or even sex slavery cannot be continued as human’s civilization grows faster. Our understanding of humanity has developed further after 1400 years.  We should live on our today’s standards. That’s the spirit of Islam that the prophet proposed.

ISIS and such conservative groups choose the idea of the past.  they think it is the perfect one. The most Islamic one.  Otherwise the enlightened ones choose to synchronize islam with the spirit of the age.

Eventually, this is  main idea on this writing. We cannot only condemn the group but also, we have to challenge the idea that generate ISIS.  As long as muslim think that the perfect was in the past so that they want to implement stoning, or corporal punishment, khilafa system, there are big probability that “the others ISIS” will rise someday.


by : Erton Vialy Arsy


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