Many people in the world tried to understand about Islam from Holy Quran and its history, they researched about muslim activities in several muslim countries, but they always fall to misconception and cannot escape from those thought, though many pious muslim scholars tried to explain to them that what they thought about Islam was wrong.
For examples sometime they said that Islam is arab, there is no women’s right in Islam, Muslims support violence and terrorism, however the most misconception ever about Islam is when they explained about the meaning of Islam.
Josep Below wrote in his book that Islam is Muhammadism, and Muslims are Muhammadans. Even he said in his book that Muhammadism without terror and conflict with the Non-Muhammadan world is not Muhammadism, because Islam has been spread by war.
I think the meaning of Muhammadism and Muhammadans used by Josep Below to describe that muslim actually worship to our last Messenger, not to Allah, because he was first convert to Islam, role model for being true muslim, and Muhammad has created Islamic law based on his activities and expressions.
Unlike Josep Below who he is an Islamophobic, Nurcholish Madjid (Cak Nur) is a modern muslim scholar who has deconstructed the meaning of Islam and he called it as the inclusive theology. Maria Ulfa said in her paper about inclusive theology term that generally, inclusive thelogy can be expressed as a view which sees the truth in other religion although that someone still embracing his religion.
This is because Cak Nur said that the fundamental meaning of Islam is submission to God. Seriously, this term has logical consequence that people who is submitting to God, whatever their religion, they are ‘muslim’, and they will go to heaven together with us as true muslim. Unfortunately many Muslim agree with his views about the meaning of Islam.
Both of meaning of Islam between Josep Below and Cak Nur are serious misconception. Those two scholars have different basic such as religion, nation, and argumantation but they are in the same way: deconstruction of the meaning of Islam.
We have to understand Josep Below and Cak Nur are postmodernist, because postmodern discourse often has agenda to criticize and deconstruct religion, especially Islam, with hope the world will be peace and respect each other, but so far, all attempts to bring peace have failed, because there are misconception.
Firstly, what Josep Below said that Islam is Muhammadism and Muslims are Muhammadans are wrong because the word of Islam is derived from the Arabic root “Salama” which means, peace, purity and submission.
Hammudah Abdalati argued in his book that Islam is no more than another “ism” just like Judaism, Hinduism, or Marxism, and muslims are not worshippers in Muhammad just like Christians believe in Jesus as God, the muslims worship Allah alone. Prophet Muhammad was only a mortal being commissioned by Allah to receive and teach the Holy Qur’an and lead an exemplary life. Therefore Islam is not submission to Muhammad, but to God.
The meaning of submission to God is obedience to Islamic law based on two fundamental sources namely Quran and Hadist. Unlike Cak Nur’s view which said that Islam as submission to God has logical consquence whatever its religion, if Chritians submit to Jesus as God, or Nordic race submit to Thor as God, they are ‘muslim’.
In the fact, the true meaning of submission to God is obedience to shariya as way of life because Islam is ‘organized religion’. Therefore Christian is not muslim though they submit to Jesus as God, nor Nordic race though they believe in Thor as God, because they are contradictive with the true concept of submission to God in the meaning of Islam.
The different things between Josep Below and Cak Nur on the meaning of Islam are that Josep Below in his book defined Islam as submission to Muhammad, so he called Islam as Muhammadism and Muslims as Muhammadans, and Cak Nur defined Islam as submission to all of God such as God of Nordic race, God of Christian, God of Judaism, etc. Both of view have same root: deconstruction. The aim of deconstruction is destroying sacrality of any religion included Islam.
When postmodernist such as Josep Below and Cak Nur disliked to Muslim which obedient and submit to Allah and His last Messenger, so they were deconstructing the meaning of Islam. We have to look at one of best American muslim speaker: Syaikh Hamza Yusuf. He is so well-known in youtube because his speech is like a magic. Hamza Yusuf in his best speech said that submission to God (Allah) absolutely is the real freedom in Islam.
I finally regret dan mindful that when we not submit to God, nor obedient to His Law, we become a slave of dunya: slave to drugs, slave to richness, slave of pornography, slave of money, and slave of position. That’s why to escape from those circle of dunya is submission to God and obedience to His Law. I think better become slave of God than slave of dunya. Therefore Islam is good way of life for you and me, because Allah said in Quran surah Ali Imran: 19, “Verily the Religion (al-din) in the sight of God is Islam.” Wallahu a’lam.