First, return to local traditions with a global perspective.
Local traditions in Aceh are indeed an extraordinary treasure. This scenario assumes the success of building a community where all local traditions are maintained while opening themselves up to global changes.
In essence, local traditions in Aceh can still be preserved because this tradition is the result of a dialectic of society that, of course, has undergone various ‘tests’ in terms of history, religion, and language.
However, local traditions will be looked at from a global perspective in the future. One of the concepts that emerge here is glocal, where there is a balance between global and local.
Here it can be understood that the occurrence of globalization is a necessity that cannot be denied. However, recently there have been attempts to globalize, which means that a society can enjoy the fruits of globalization (ICT) while maintaining its own culture. Even though globalization has come as a product of human success in the 21st century AD, we can still maintain this local culture.
One of the countries that play an active role in the issue of glocalization is Japan. This country is at the forefront of ICT but still maintains its traditional and cultural values. Japan and South Korea are also seen as still attaching themselves to local traditional values in their society.
In the context of Aceh, there is no need to argue about how people use the internet or cell phones, but what needs to be improved is how local values are still well maintained. Here it is emphasized that the leading actor in glocalization is the community itself by using the advantages of ICT while still adhering to their cultural values.
In other words, there is a need for a balance between local interests and needs by taking advantage of opportunities in globalization. This scenario will be possible if a group of people actively guides and supervises the community on how vital globalization is and still maintains local traditions.
Second, build a New Paradigm.
Here the scenario to be developed is how to build a new understanding in the community by offering new concepts that can be made sense within the framework of the culture and religion adopted by the Acehnese people. A paradigm is a mindset. People must change their mindset to face new problems in their daily lives.
In other words, the mindset that is built is constructive and progressive. So far, the people of Aceh are known as people who are always aspirational to all changing times. They, consciously or not, have dissolved with spontaneous changes.
One small example is the bathroom. The Acehnese bathroom is in front of a neatly fenced house. At that time, anyone who entered the house must wash their feet in front of the stairs. After that, water is put into the house only as needed for cooking. Even the bathroom (well) can be used by neighbors or at least for those who need water.
Therefore, the bathroom philosophy was a social intimacy between people at that time. After that, the bathroom was moved into the house, but close to the kitchen in the back. As a result, the habit of washing feet and fetching water no longer exists. Therefore, almost every house tries to make a room in their house close to the kitchen.
The latest change is that every room in the house has a bathroom. So, every family member can do private bathing activities. In other words, there is no need to queue, and it can be done at any time.
Moreover, the bathroom becomes a necessity in the bedroom. This change also has implications for people’s mindsets; where they are, the closer they are to what they want, and the more distant their relationship with each other will be. Finally, the mindset changes, where a sense of togetherness only occurs if there is an interest or benefit for someone.
The paradigm shift in society is not caused by external factors alone but also by the shift in people’s perspectives in carrying out their daily lives. The bathroom in front of traditional Acehnese’s house has changed into a bedroom. This behavior shows that a shift in mindset tends to be seen as far as the level of convenience it gets, which is not to mention if it is associated with the increasing intensity of the family’s perspective on their religious needs, as described above about Muslims without mosques.
So, in this scenario, what can be done seems to restore togetherness among the Acehnese people as an inseparable unit. For this reason, constructive and progressive agendas are something that all of us can do at this time. One way is to increase the function of religion as a social force while looking at the Acehnese culture that can bind one another.
Third, Practicing Religion
The agenda for establishing religion is indeed something urgent to be done immediately. In this case, they are grounding religion to create social piety among the people of Aceh. More firmly, grounding religion is the emergence of efforts to become religious as a social glue. In other words, religion must create an inclusive or open society.
The people of Aceh have indeed succeeded in grounding their religion in Aceh, where history has shown how the religious spirit can enter every niche of people’s lives. This religious spirit can be transferred to aspects of education, economy, society, politics, and security. That way, religion will play a substantive role that will no longer play in traditional and symbolic forms.
Therefore, one example of Muslims without a mosque indicates that religion increases. Religion only aims to go to Heaven, and religion is only for individual needs. Furthermore, religion is never involved when they carry out educational, economic, social, political, and security activities.
Religious success is not calculated by how many people are arrested or whipped and how many go on a pilgrimage. We may rarely ask whether the money used is lawful or not. We may also ignore it if the position we get is through lawful channels.
However, the money earned from this sweat is then used as a kind of ‘sinner.’ Therefore, grounding religion is to rise again to create the role of religion in every aspect of people’s lives. Religion is no longer only interpreted as the implementation of Islamic Shari’ah alone. However, what is the agenda behind the implementation of Islamic law?
Religious success is calculated by how many people can care about social aspects. How many people have not committed public crimes? This is the agenda scattered in Aceh today because when money is the goal in all affairs, religion is a mere tool of escapism. It is the only medicine when humans are sick. Policymakers in Aceh have begun to think about concrete steps to bring religion to life.
Religion plays an active role in the current Acehnese context. In this case, one of the most strategic steps is to restore the function of religion as a social function. Because if social piety is covered with norms and morals, inequality or abuse in Aceh seems to be reduced.
Fourth, Religious Cosmopolis
It is still a bit hesitant to be thrown out to the public in this small part. Because becoming a religious cosmopolis is a long step in Aceh, it does not hurt to try now. Because we will be able to take advantage of the opportunity as citizens of the world in that way, we will also be able to learn from our history and other cultures.
The current momentum of the international community’s presence in Aceh should be utilized in community learning as part of the world’s population. The people of Aceh no longer need to view that the international community’s presence in this province is purely for economic reasons. However, it is also necessary to hold a dialogue or study on prioritizing the concept of a religious cosmopolis.
The legitimacy of history has proven how Aceh is so attractive to the international world. The cosmopolitans live with ‘freedom’ but within the frame of spiritual bonds.
We see, for example, that Richard Gere, one of the most cosmopolitan celebrities in Hollywood, even came to Tibet to study religion with the Dalai Lama, which indicates that Aceh, through its unique culture and religion, is likely to absorb many cosmopolitans.
Because the authenticity of Aceh in its colorful culture and spiritual power seems to be the glue and place Aceh as part of the international community, in this regard, Aceh’s position is quite strategic.
Furthermore, the Acehnese can also learn how to be a cosmopolis. Because by doing so, they will appreciate humans more, not in terms of ethnicity, religion, and culture, but because of humanity which is not contrary to the teachings of Islam, where we are required to respect each other.
Furthermore, one more thing, as emphasized in the letter al-Hujurat verse 13, humans are commanded to know each other. So actually, Aceh already has a good enough ‘capital’ to go to a religious cosmopolis. However, we have not seen any serious efforts by some policymakers in Aceh to begin to see the potential for a religious cosmopolis. Much of our energy is spent on material development.
Meanwhile, the moral and spiritual development agenda has been neglected. This is the right time to turn Aceh into a religious cosmopolis.
Fifth, Interpretation of Religious Systems, Yes! Foreign Culture, Yes! Cosmopolitan, Yes!
This scenario is indeed the spirit of this study, where all the instruments owned by the Acehnese must be carried out in one style and direction. Interpretation of religion is absolute.
Because of that, religion will live more in society. This interpretation is a religious commandment where Allah challenges humans to think and think several times. Of course, we can see this signal in fiqh which means understanding.
In the Qur’an, the term fiqh is mentioned 15 times, with various variants. Almost all of its variants are related to hearing, reading, and heart. Only one verse explains meditation in the religion, which indicates that religious interpretation should start now.
Religion also does not exist for mere legitimacy. In this case, Islam, in turn, does not appear in a ‘fearful’ face. However, he must be a spirit and spirit for the community. Therefore, reinterpretation of religion is an absolute must in building a New Aceh.
In other words, religious interpretation attempts to revive or re-earth religion in society. Religion no longer needs to be present as a collection of punishments, but it must be a spirit. For this reason, the space for understanding religion must be opened wide. In this case, education is one method to generate religious interpretation.
The interpretation of religion is not an attempt to ignore what is apparent in the Scriptures. Nevertheless, the interpretation of religion is to start looking at some possibilities of how religion can become a study and be ‘felt’ by society.
The Acehnese have practiced religious interpretation in their history, but sometimes what is discussed repeatedly is a success, not the process of achieving success. In other words, the intellectual spirit in religious studies in Aceh can be said to have gone backward. Today, almost no Acehnese can match Hasbi ash-Shiddieqy in writing his views on religious interpretation.
Likewise, it is rare to hear of Acehnese scholars, such as ‘Ali Hasyimi, who successfully integrated culture and religion in his works, nowadays who can carry out religious interpretations, which is the collapse of the intellectual dynamics of religion in Aceh. Religion is understood as a rule of law where the answer is how many women have been arrested and how many people have been caned.
Likewise, the people of Aceh must be open to outside cultures. Because, whether we realize it or not, foreign culture will continue to be present in Acehnese society. The presence of foreign culture in Aceh must be positively appreciated while continuing to see the benefits of this culture. Therefore, the challenge of globalization answered by glocalization is one method of responding to foreign cultures.
In this case, the level of people’s understanding must be increased, especially in the face of every new culture that comes. Therefore, the public must be socialized on the importance of mastering the world of ICT while maintaining the local culture. In this case, the Japanese experience can be used as a model; although they are already at the forefront of the ICT world, they still maintain Japanese culture.
That is why our offer about Foreign Culture Yes! It is not that we want to eliminate Acehnese culture but rather promote cultural dialogue. Because, whether there is a filter, the outside culture will still be carried out by the people of Aceh. This discussion is to be widely opened to the public to be aware of what should be done to foreign cultures.
The examples above are concrete evidence of how there has been a shift in society’s culture. In this case, the cosmopolitan phenomenon, Muslims without mosques, and the influence of ICT in Acehnese society must be answered systematically, not be avoided. Because the more we avoid foreign cultures, the more we will see how helpless we are against foreign cultures that come with a snowball.
Finally, cosmopolitanism is one alternative to answer some of the problems in Aceh. Of course, the cosmopolitan meant is the religious cosmopolis, which strives to become a world community while still maintaining the traditions and religions adhered to.
It seems that becoming a religious cosmopolis is one of the efforts to ground the belief system. Therefore, policymakers and enthusiasts of the Aceh problem should rethink how to organize the agenda of religious, cultural, and cosmopolitan issues in Aceh.
This chapter has begun to ask quite piercing questions about religion, culture, and cosmopolitanism in Aceh. This question has been attempted to be answered in this study by looking at the tangible aspects of Aceh today.
Therefore, at least some things can be underlined in this study. First, the cultural, religious, and cosmopolitan aspects are running in Aceh in one count of the pulse of people’s lives. There has been a shift.
This study has shown how these three concepts are interrelated in the dynamics of the lives of the Acehnese people. Of course, not all the things that happened in Aceh can be said to be a problem that must be answered. However, this study has shown that cultural, religious, and cosmopolitan issues can permeate several aspects of people’s lives, not only in Acehnese society.
Second, an examination of the role of these three concepts in society shows that the people of Aceh are heading towards a single point of enlightenment. However, no single institution is concerned with ‘guarding’ the Aceh process towards the point of enlightenment. Each community tries to be the best people for their family, religion, hometown, ethnicity, etc.
Nevertheless, because they go their separate ways, what happens is individual piety, the philosophy of using cellphones, Muslims without mosques, the index revolution, where these small examples have indicated that Acehnese society is changing very quickly. Therefore, it seems that the proposals for this paper can be used as input for ‘guarding’ socio-religious and socio-cultural issues in Aceh.
Third, this essay also wants to argue that these three concepts can be implemented in Aceh. Some of the scenarios above, which are still very tentative, can be used as a first step to ‘read’ how the continuation of the role of culture, religion, and cosmopolitanism in Aceh.
Because these three issues will continue to be on the agenda, they must be resolved and answered as soon as possible by anyone who wants to open points of enlightenment in Aceh. Therefore, the above scenario is sometimes not very familiar to our ears, but it seems that it can be used to respond to the development of the contemporary world.
Both developed and developing countries have thought of their agenda to pave the way in this wilderness of globalization. For this reason, some of the above scenarios still put forward several central points in the lives of the Acehnese people, namely the customs and religion adopted by the Acehnese people, namely Islam.
Finally, this essay wants to close that the wind of change always blows in our lives. Of course, there are excellent and destructive winds. It is up to us to respond to our readiness with the winds of change. In this case, our willingness to read the signs of the times is half the success in answering the problems faced by the Acehnese people today.