GUS DUR is the unfinished text. As a text, Gus Dur never completely understood, be deciphered, excavated, and reconstructed back the meaning.
Al-Imam al-Allama al-Ghazali in “Fayshal al-Tafriqah” and “Qanun al-Ta’wil” mentions that the text has many layers of meaning that are hierarchies. Like layers of onion, when opening the first layer, we’ll find a second layer, third layer, and so on. The deeper we extracted, the more and more rich the meaning of it.
Likewise, when reading Gus Dur, we will find a lot of meaning with various gradations and dimensions. Sometimes the meanings that do not appear alone, but must be sought and found himself.
Gus Dur had died, but the writing and acting is alive and inspire millions of followers, admirers, sympathizers, and his disciples. Gus Dur also reviled, despised, and even misunderstood by those who had been hostile to it. (Gus Dur, by his own admission, has no enemies)
I became acquainted with Gus Dur through his writings when I was at boarding in Lirboyo, Kediri. “God Not Needed to be Defended” is the first book I read.
Honestly, although I have read many times, I do not understand what this means. It remained dark. For the students who are still sitting in the Elementary level, Gus Dur books classified as heavy reading. The language is not so familiar. Moreover, the “white book” was so popular and not widely read by the students. In fact, at that time the students prohibit consume readings other than “yellow book”.
I bought it because interested with the title: “God Not Needed to be Defended”. The title challenging teachings and doctrines that have been taught in a boarding school: the Lord shall be exalted, God must be lifted, and even God must be fought and contested even by the way of warfare: jihad.
Gus Dur in his writings seems flipping everything, undermining the doctrine that has been so well-established and established. Those kinds of conclusions will appear if we only look at and read the title, without understanding the content and meaning (significance level at the next level).
Often people perceive and understand Gus Dur from the “title”: a fragment of statements that are not integrated. In addition replacing the greetings “Assalamualaikum” with “good morning/ afternoon/evening”, Indonesian Muslims has argue by Gus Dur statement “Al-Qur`an is porn scripture”.
Of course, the spontaneity, the statement gets the reactions of some Muslims. Gus Dur was accused of insulting Islam and Muslims, desecrating holy al-Qur`an as Kalamullah (Allah Words). Because of that statement, Rizieq Shihab, leader of the FPI, up to insult Gus Dur “the blind eyes and blind heart” (broadcast on TV live).
Unfortunately, most are not following down first origin of the statement. Although Gus Dur himself had clarified his statement, the media already overdo fry the statement as a public issue. Porn, said Gus Dur, cannot be defined normatively. The porn concept is in our own heads. It could be, said Gus Dur, certain verses in al-Qur`an, such as QS. al-Baqarah: 233, understood as pornographic that nothing goes wrong in our brain.
After Gus Dur, seems we don’t have religious leader who dared to “put the body” and not afraid to go against the flow tendency of people thinking (commonly). Gus Dur has carry the torch of truth in the midst of darkness, without the slightest fear of abused, reviled, hated, despised even by those who love darkness. Perhaps this is touted QS. Yunus: 62, “Inna awliyâ` Allahi la khawfun alayhim yahzanûn wala hum,” (actually trustees [lover] God was never scared and sad)
At the time of fascism-New Order authoritarianism to exert influence and power is so strong, Gus Dur against by creating a force of civil society and democratic turn.
As a Kyai and also as Islamic thinker, Gus Dur did not have to bother looking for the proposition, reason, comparison, or justification of religion, whether “civil society” and “democracy” does not conflict with Islam? Is it necessary to look for its origin in the early generations of Islam during the Prophet era (peace be upon him) forming the Muslim community? Gus Dur also never asks or inquires what kind of creature “civil society” and “democracy” is? He came from where? And, is it both of them there in al-Qur`an, al-Hadith, or sheets of yellow book?
Gus Dur not need postulate because he is a proposition himself. When Gus Dur defended Ahmadiyah, Chinese communities, or even Inul Daratista, Gus Dur said only that their rights are protected by law. Gus Dur not need froth borrow religious pluralism Ibn Arabi or Rumi.
For Gus Dur, the essence and purpose of religion is only one: humanity. Religion is increasing human values. Also raised the dignity of humanity. The consequences, if there is a religious teachings as contradictory or degrading human values, then the religious teachings should be deciphered and reinterpreted and adapted to the purpose, intent, and human needs.
“God does not need human and religion is not for God. If God willed, He would create one nation, one religion, one race, one ethnicity, and one country,” [QS. al-Nahl: 93].
In the chaotic situation like this, we certainly could not have wished Gus Dur reborn. Within a certain time every community there is a “Prophet” himself. Perhaps, at this time, our nation is experiencing a fathrah time—a situation where people lose grip, role models, guidance, and exemplary leader. Wallâhu a’lam bi al-shawâb.