Center For Indigenous Psychology (Pusat Pengembangan Psikologi Islam) is led by Prof. DR Achmad Mubarok MA, a Professor of Indigenous Psychology at University of Indonesia (UI), Jakarta State Islamic University (UIN Jakarta), and Assyafiiyah Islamic University (UIA)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Role of Muballighs in Responding and Overcoming Islamopobhia
at 10:44 PM 
Role of Muballighs in Responding and Overcoming Islamopobhia
29 April 2008
By : Prof. Dr. Achmad Mubarok, MA
General Lecture submitted in Graduation Ceremony for Students of Muballigh Cadres Education KODI DKI Jaya XIV Generation and Opening Lecture for XV Generation
Jakarta, 24 April 2008

Muballighs (preachers) are at the most front dakwah level using irregular communication media with the audience. Therefore, dakwah materials submitted are generally not deep and easily understood. Muballighs popular in the society are not necessarily the ones who have deepest understanding on Islamic sciences, they are often asked to give dakwah due to their ability to communicate popularly. Furthermore, people attending tablighs don’t necessarily want to study Islamic sciences. A lot of them regard tabligh programs as means for having fun after facing rutinities and life difficulties. Therefore, a lot of celebrities-muballighs are liked by people although weight of their speeches is only moderate. Muballigh aren’t important, but it should be realized that muballighs seem to play more role on building dakwah spectaculars than on building religious awareness. Therefore, the merriness of these spectacular tablighs doesn’t indicate growth of ummah quality.

Levels of Dakwah
Dakwah means an effort to influence others (people) so that they have attitudes and behaviours as wanted by the da’is. Intensity of efforts and goals of dakwah can be seen from the da’i levels.

There are at least five levels of da’is in Indonesia now:

1. Muballighs level. They are those who are giving dakwah to the public, without any schedule, with pupils that are changing from time to time, without curriculum and without target. Therefore, charisma of a muballigh highly depends on the muballigh himself. There are muballigh fa’il and muballigh maf’ul. Muballigh fa’il is a muballigh who has a program or special attention, for example, certain society or field. Meanwhile, muballligh maf’ul is a muballigh who doesn’t have a program but waiting to be “programmed” or invited by his public. If muballigh fa’il’s success can be measured in certain ways, then a muballigh maf’ul’s success only can be measured through amount of invitations he had received.

2. Teachers level. A teacher who is aware that he/she is a da’i actually is a da’i who gives dakwah to audience (mad’u) with measured goals. Therefore, if a teacher is success in carrying out his tasks of dakwah, he will really able to make his mad’u (pupils) to be the persons he wants.

3. Professionals level. A professional’s character is working in accordance with his education, having access to decision makings, and having wage standards. For example, doctor, engineer and architect. If a professional has a dakwah spirit then he will be a da’i with power and his actions will cause a positive perception on Islam.

4. Political level. PKS (Justice and Welfare Party), for example, openly call themselves a dakwah party. It means that PKS gives dakwah politically. Political parties usually manipulate people’s interest to achieve power. If a party can do politics (involve themselves in politics) in a clean way then the dakwah will be highly effective. If the power has been achieved (their representatives become governors, ministers, or presidents) and they are consistent with their dakwah concepts, then the dakwah will be powerful and the results can be enjoyed by the society economically and socially. Some people give dakwah openly through Islamic Party, while some others give dakwah through parties without religious identity.

Dakwah as a Communication Event
As an event, dakwah is a communication, so that elements of dakwah are same as elements of communication that are da’i, mad’u, material/message, method, and media. The material submitted by muballigh or da’i can be information, invitation, teachings, and even nonsense. Success of communication by a muballigh to his public highly depends on what he communicates. If a muballigh only submit voices, then his dakwah will only be heard by the ears. If a muballigh submit his dakwah in form of thinking then it will be responded using mind, if the dakwah is a voice of his heart, then it will be absorbed by heart.

Characteristics of A Successful Dakwah
As a communication event, dakwah will be regarded as successful if having following characteristics:
1. The messages are understood by people.
2. The dakwah is amusing people.
3. The relations between muballigh and people (that are his mad’us) are increasingly getting better.
4. The dakwah changes the negative attitudes into negative ones toward values submitted in it.
5. The dakwah successfully encourages mad’u to act relevantly.
In Communication Psychology and terms “Intrapersonal communication system” and “interpersonal communication system” are known.

Intrapersonal communication system is a process in which a person receives a stimulus, perceives it, puts it into his memory, thinks about it, and responds it. For people not adhering Islam, Islam is a perception. Majority western people perceive Islam as a religion teaching violence, not obeying Human Rights, and disrespecting women. Perception is mostly influenced by attention. Things that highly draw attention are novelties, movements, contrasts, repetitions. Western mass media repetitively broadcast subjective (and wrong) news from Islamic world without the Islamic world themselves are able to counter them with same media. As a result, negative perceptions on Islam had been built in western people’s minds and even are believed by Muslims having superficial knowledge.

Interpersonal communication system is a process in which a person (or society) builds his image. Building a good image requires a long time through good behaviours done repetitively. Meanwhile, a bad image is immediately built on a person once the person does a bad behaviour.

Apart from negative perception of western people, it should be admitted that sometimes some people among us (da’is and mubalighs) build a self-image as an undignified class. For example, fighting sexual immoral behaviours by coming to prostitution places and shouting takbir, carrying bludgeons, breaking glasses, and wearing white robes. When this act of fighting wrongdoings is broadcasted in western media, then what built will be a bad image of Islam in the eyes of western people. Another example, a muballigh in a tabligh akbar on Ahmadiyyah sometimes ago stated that blood of Ahmadiyyah people is “halal”. When this statement is translated and broadcasted, then perception built in the mind of western people will be that Islam is an intolerant and cruel religion. Likewise, the case of Amrozy cs also built a negative image on Islam. Therefore, we shouldn’t be too emotional when facing Islamopobhia or anti-Islam attitude.

How to respond and overcome Islamophobia?
Perception can only be changed through communication, not through long distance response. The most effective way of overcoming islamopobhia is by proposing Islam as rahmatan lil’alami, grace for the universe. Characteristics of rahmat are (a) full of attention, (b) wanting to give, (c) understanding limitations, and (d) forgiving. Dakwah community should hold dialogs with the West since they who are anti-Islam really don’t know a lot about it and have a bad perception built on Islam. Remember that when Rasulullah had stones thrown away at him by Taif people, he didn’t condemn them, instead he prayed, “Allhummaghfirlahum fainnahum la ya`lamun” (O Allah, forgive them, they were throwing stones at me since they didn’t know that I’m really Your messenger).

After 11 September incident in USA, amount of Muslims there increased 500%. Why? Since after Islam had been publicized as a religion of terror, Americans got interested to find out what Islamic teachings are. Mushafs of Al Quran and Islamic books are always sold-out. After they reading directly Islamic sources and communicating directly with Islamic people, their perception had changed, later they even had sympathy for Islam and were given God’s guidance (hidayah). Allahu Akbar.

Therefore, PKM students should increase their insights, by reading a lot, listening a lot, and interact with others a lot. Insya Allah, their knowledge, comprehension, flexibility will increase.
Wallahu a`lamu bissawab
posted by : Mubarok institute

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